NEW ORLEANS -- Two reporters from Philadelphia flanked Alex Smith Wednesday morning at the San Francisco 49ers' media session. A Cleveland reporter leaned in from the right. The New York Jets' media contingent hadn't made it over to Smith's table yet, but there was plenty of time.
Smith's midseason demotion from the starting quarterback role, after he suffered a concussion and Colin Kaepernick stepped in spectacularly, is one of the main subplots of Super Bowl XLVII. He was completing 70 percent of his passes when he sat down. He's 29 years old, a former No. 1 overall pick in the draft. He's going to be available as soon as the game is in the books. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the 49ers will try to deal Smith, then will grant him his release if a trade can't be worked out, out of respect for everything he's done for them.
It's a little bit like the Kevin Kolb situation in Philly two years ago, only with a guy who has started a whole bunch more games.
So, Alex, wouldja like to run a spread offense? (For, say, a coach who theoretically might be bringing such a scheme from, say, the Northwest to the NFC East?)
"Haven't thought about it," Smith said. "I'm certainly not opposed to it -- we've done it here. Coach (Greg) Roman's done a great job implementing that stuff, and even more now, with Colin in. It's really dynamic stuff, I think. It's hard to defend. It really creates a lot of problems for a defense, especially NFL defenses that haven't seen it ... you can see their struggles with it even on film."
Smith said he met Chip Kelly when the then-Oregon coach visited the 49ers last summer. Didn't have many thoughts on him otherwise. Obviously, Smith is in a tough spot this week -- his focus has to be the Super Bowl. Kaepernick could go down on the first play from scrimmage Sunday, and it would be Smith's job to lead the team to the Lombardi Trophy. He can't let himself get carried away with what comes next.
Smith said he has "no timeline, no expectations," but expects the 49ers to figure out what they want to do "very quickly," whether they are immediately able to act on that decision or not.
Smith was a lot more talkative on the subject of new Cleveland offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who was Smith's OC with the 49ers in 2006, than he was on Kelly.
"Loved my time with Norv, very QB-friendly system," Smith said. "Great play-caller. I just remember he had a great feel for the game, great feel for what the defense was doing."
Smith said he was not thinking about being reunited with Turner, though he said they stay in touch.
He was asked what he thinks he brings to the table as a QB.
"For me, I would really feel like understanding of the game, can really handle the volume, complexity, run game and pass game," Smith said. "Really feel like I can do a lot out there. Can do a lot at the line of scrimmage. Can made good decisions, not turn the ball over, going to move the chains.'