Steve Spagnuolo had the perfect answer prepared, thinking he’d be asked which 49ers quarterback he expected to face on Sunday.
“I was going to say, ‘Smith,’” he joked.
But when the St. Louis Rams’ coach was asked which Smith he expected to see, Spagnuolo’s preparation went for naught. Still though, he said it doesn’t matter to him whether his defense takes the field against Troy Smith or Alex Smith. Both quarterbacks are very talented, he said, and both will present his team with unique challenges.
“They both run the offense real well,” Spagnuolo said in his Wednesday conference call with the Bay Area media. “We’ll have to prepare for both. That’s kind of the downside for us, but that’s what we’ll have to do.”
Hours after Spagnuolo’s conference call 49ers coach Mike Singletary said Troy Smith would likely be the starter on Sunday, and if that is the case, Spagnuolo may be as prepared as any head coach in the league to defend him.
Smith has only made three career starts, but he saw extensive time in a preseason game against the New York Giants when Spagnuolo was the team’s defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo won’t completely rely on that game as the blueprint for slowing Smith down, but with so little game film on him, Spagnuolo will use whatever he can get.
While Spagnuolo is still searching for Troy Smith game film, his rookie quarterback has been studying the 49ers defense for nearly two weeks now. And the more Sam Bradford watches, the more he is impressed.
“It’s by far one of the better defenses we’ve seen,” Bradford, the NFL’s No. 1 –overall pick, said during his conference call. “All those guys understand how to play the game and they understand the scheme that they’re in. Very rarely does it ever look like they’re out of position.
“We’re going to have to be very good on offense if we want to put any points on the board.”
One 49ers defender Bradford is particularly familiar with is safety Reggie Smith, who Singletary said will see more playing time this Sunday.
The two were college teammates at the University of Oklahoma, and before that they faced each other in high school, where Smith said he intercepted Bradford at least once.
Bradford has tried to push that memory out of his mind, but when asked, he gave credit where credit was due.
“As much as I hate to admit that,” Bradford said, “I’ll be honest and tell you guys that he did.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Reggie Smith, Troy Smith
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