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The Invincible M.A.E.


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Alex Smith
harleymae

Don't lock yourself in the barn!

Stephen Curry had a nice debut with the Warriors even though they lost. He's almost enough to lure me back to following the Warriors again. *coughs* Ahh, if there were only more hours in the day. I'll settle for watching highlights.

Cliff Lee pitched out of his mind last night. I wonder why Pedro Martinez is starting tonight instead of Cole Hamels. I thought he was the Game 2 starter in the previous series?

I may have jumped the gun by adding an Alex Smith icon again, but Singletary did say that this wasn't a flavor of the week type thing, so ideally I can use this until the end of the season, at least. :)

49ers' Smith finally back behind center

By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

(10-28) 14:43 PDT Santa Clara, Calif. (AP) --

Mike Singletary can see it in Alex Smith's eyes, in his body language. He's a different player now. Confident. Mature. Experienced.

At all of 25, Smith has been at the top and at the very bottom during his short NFL career. There was all the hype and talk of his potential when the San Francisco 49ers chose him No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL draft.

Three years later he had disappeared, having worked his way back from shoulder surgery only to get hurt again three days before last year's season opener. He missed all of 2008.

"Alex is a totally different guy today than he was even six months ago," Singletary said Wednesday. "I think his mindset is clear."

On Sunday, Smith gets to start over, given a second chance — a rare thing in professional sports these days.

San Francisco's game at Indianapolis will mark his first start since Nov. 12, 2007, and it just so happens the Colts are also the team he faced in his NFL debut back in '05.

"I think it's just coincidence I'm back starting again against the team I got my first start against," Smith said.

He is taking this all in stride, but it's clear he's thrilled to be the top guy again after all this time.

"Back on the podium," Smith said with a smile Wednesday, the standard day for the starting quarterback to address the media. "I missed it the most."

Smith missed this so much he opted to stay with San Francisco last spring rather than leave for a potentially better situation and more money elsewhere. He said at the time he wanted to finish what he started, to redeem himself. He never lost belief he could be a starting quarterback for this franchise. Now, others may begin to regain faith in him, too.

Singletary has, that's for sure. Even when the coach named Shaun Hill the starter during training camp.

The 49ers need Smith's leadership on offense now like no other. They have endured six straight losing seasons. They're 3-3 and have lost two straight games on the heels of a 3-1 start, though Smith nearly led them back from a 21-0 deficit in a 24-21 defeat at Houston last Sunday.

In March, Smith agreed to a restructured contract that sharply reduced his base salary.

Smith was due to make nearly $10 million this season under the deal he signed in 2005. The 49ers now have Smith under contract through next season at a salary more commensurate with his four up-and-down years with the club. Smith isn't all about the money. He said everything he's endured has given him a new perspective and appreciation that he gets to play football for a living.

"To me he's been a true team player, the ultimate team player, through this process," Singletary said. "The thing that spoke volumes to me about him was in the offseason he had a chance to move on and go to another team and make more money. But he decided to stay because he felt that he wanted to be a part of what was here. He wanted to finish what he started. I'm excited for him going forward and I'm not going to build too much into it. I'm going to let Alex's play speak for itself."

This season marks the first time Smith has been fully healthy since shortly after his promising 2006 season in which he took every snap for the 49ers, throwing for 2,890 yards and 16 touchdowns. His shoulder problems began with a sack early in the 2007 campaign and later stoked a periodic feud with former coach Mike Nolan that seriously hampered both men's careers. Nolan questioned how hurt Smith really was on several occasions, shocking behavior from an NFL head coach.

Smith seems to have forgotten all of these bad memories, or at least pushed them out of mind.

He has stayed ready, though he never knew when he might get another shot.

"This is the NFL. If you're a backup quarterback and think you're not going to play, you're kind of in a dreamland," Smith said. "How many QBs go through a season and take all of the snaps and can handle that? It's a lot. You have the mindset, you have to have the expectations to play. The question is, when does it come? You have to be ready for that because you don't know when it's going to come."

Smith isn't making too much of his promotion, knowing full well how quickly things can change in this league. If he doesn't perform, Singletary might decide to make another switch, even though the coach said this won't be a "flavor-of-the-month kind of thing."

Smith's teammates are proud of his turnaround. They all know it's not often someone gets to revive their career with their original organization, but rather is forced to start over elsewhere with a clean slate.

Smith took over for Hill in the second half against the Texans on Sunday and completed his first six passes on the way to a 15-of-22 day for 206 yards. He threw three touchdowns to tight end Vernon Davis.

"I always believed in Alex," Davis said. "Sometimes it takes certain guys a little longer to come around. He always had the tools but it just took him some time. He's always had it."

Smith doesn't think he's changed to get to this point, even if others notice differences in his relaxed demeanor.

"I don't think I ever lost confidence. It had been two years almost since I'd been in a live game," Smith said, noting preseason games aren't the same as the real thing. "It probably comes from a little bit of everything. Being around the game more, you know more about it, a better understanding of it. The last couple of years put things in perspective for me, especially with football and what is important, what you really miss when you get away from it."

Vernon Davis believing in Alex Smith makes me squeak! Although he could have said that because he's just thrown him three touchdown passes in one half...

49ers' Smith can show Colts how far he has come
By Daniel Brown

dbrown@mercurynews.com
Posted: 10/28/2009 07:04:44 PM PDT
Updated: 10/29/2009 09:28:16 AM PDT

Alex Smith's first NFL start was a putrid affair. Looking jittery and overmatched, the 49ers rookie threw four interceptions, was sacked five times and had an 8.5 passer rating.

When it was over, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Nick Harper said it was easy.

"He stared down his first read," he said. "All we did was take it away."

That's how they got four interceptions?

"The goal was five," Harper replied.

Sunday in Indianapolis, Smith gets a chance to show how much he has grown up. He is the starter again, just in time for a rematch with the team that tormented him in a 28-3 defeat Oct. 9, 2005.

Asked Wednesday to look back at his first game against the Colts, Smith smiled.

"A lot has changed since then," he said.

The 49ers sure hope so. This is the toughest game on their schedule. The Colts are 6-0 and winning by an average score of 30-13.

Indianapolis boasts the NFL's sixth-ranked pass defense (179.8 yards allowed per game) and a Hall of Fame quarterback who makes it almost impossible for mortals to keep pace. Peyton Manning has 32 touchdown passes against seven interceptions during the Colts' 15-game regular-season winning streak.

Indianapolis also has defensive ends in Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney who grow increasingly dangerous each time the Colts pad their lead. Indianapolis has out-sacked teams 418-216 (an NFL-best plus-202) since Manning arrived in 1998.

Welcome back, Alex!

"They are fast, and they get after the quarterback," Smith said when of the Colts' defense. "That team is set up very well. They are good at playing with the lead. I think they force teams into playing one-dimensional, because (opponents) are playing from behind, then you have to throw the ball.

"That is what they want as far as the defense goes: They want you to sit back in the pocket and throw the ball."

The 49ers are betting that Smith is much better prepared for this challenge than he was when he took over for Tim Rattay early in the 2005 season. Coach Mike Singletary picked Smith as the starter over Shaun Hill this week, partly because Smith's confidence is on the upswing again.

"Alex is a totally different guy today than he was even six months ago. He's just a totally different guy," Singletary said. "I think his mind-set is clear. The thing that spoke volumes to me about him was that in the offseason he had a chance to move on and go to another team and make more money. But he decided to stay because he felt that he wanted to be a part of what was here. He wanted to finish what he started."

Of course, Smith didn't get the promotion simply because of his clear mind. Demeanor is Hill's forte. But the 49ers quickly discovered that guile could only get them so far downfield and concluded that Smith's stronger arm could stop defenses from putting eight or nine men in the box.

Smith's presence isn't just about airing it out: The mere threat of a passing game could open more lanes for the 49ers' 22nd-ranked running game and take some pressure off a struggling offensive line.

It worked, at least for a half, in Houston. Smith came off the bench Sunday to become the first 49ers quarterback to throw three touchdown passes in a half since Jeff Garcia threw four on Dec. 7, 2003.

Much of Smith's success came against a Texans defense playing loosely because of a 21-0 halftime lead. Now the quarterback must do it from the opening kickoff against a team with a .793 home winning percentage (46-12) since 2002.

Singletary said he has done his best to keep Smith prepared, physically and mentally. Even when he selected Hill to begin the season as the starter, the coach told Smith, "I don't want you to go lock yourself in the barn."

Does Smith recall that conversation?

"I never got the barn quote," he said with a laugh, "but this is the NFL. If you're a backup quarterback and you think you're not going to play, you're in a dreamland.

"How many QBs go through a season and take all the snaps and can handle that? It's not a lot. I think you have to have the mindset. You have to have the expectations to play. The question is, when does it come?"

He is so fucked, LOL. Also, umm, locking himself in the barn? What?


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They were saying with Burnett pitching and Molina catching, it'd be more like an NL game and Pedro does well in NY? Something like that.

I enjoyed the "who's your daddy?" chant.

Belatedly - Cole Hamels has been crap this season, but his home/road splits favored starting him at home over on the road. I think his road ERA was almost five, while his home ERA was about 3.55.

He's been pretty good in the playoffs so far though, I think? We'll find out soon enough!

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