Alex Smith lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick in November after an injury against the St. Louis Rams. Even though Smith was healthy a week later, Jim Harbaugh chose to stick by Kaepernick for the rest of the season. The decision was scrutinized by spectators and observers, but in the end, it was vindicated since the 49ers are playing in the team's sixth Super Bowl.
Smith said he is in awe of what Kaepernick has done this year. From running the offense to making throws when needed, he has seen Kaepernick do everything. In particular Smith has seen Kaepernick look efficient in his decisions on the field.
"The thing I think I’ve been impressed with the most, not so much the playmaking which I knew about, [but] the lack of young mistakes that really jumped out at me," said Smith. "Most young guys that come in, yeah they play good at times and they show flashes, but they also seem to have those young moments, rookie moments, boneheaded things. He hasn’t done it. He’s played good ball. Really played patient, played smart."
This year, Smith was coming off a record performance when he completed 18 of 19 passes against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers were 6-2 before Smith's injury against the Rams.
When it comes to watching the Super Bowl, Smith said he has mixed feelings on this. It isn't a good feeling to be on the bench when he was starting for the first half of the year.
"I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little bittersweet," said Smith. "Yeah, I want to be out there. It’s what you work for coming into the season. That was the mindset. That was the goal for me. But at the same time, it is a team sport and these are my teammates. You go through so much together, especially these guys who have been here for a chunk of time. If you can’t be happy, there’s something wrong with you."
Kaepernick has improved the passing game and opened it up to other receivers. Most notably Delanie Walker has been clicking with Kaepernick since he took over. The biggest change offensively is Kaepernick's running ability when needed. Under Greg Roman's offense, Kaepernick has been used in the pistol formation and scrambling for yardage to keep plays alive.
Ever since the change at quarterback, Smith has been preparing for the opportunity if the coaches choose to put him in. For the Super Bowl, he is ready to play if something happens to Kaepernick.
"My job is to prepare and be ready to go," said Smith. [I have to do] anything I can do, whether it’s helping Colin or anyone else on the offense, on this team, in this locker room. That’s my job. I’m going to put everything I have into that."