SOMEWHERE OVER PENNSYLVANIA -- Didn't make it back in time for the New York Giants' open locker room today, clearly, but the Giants are kind enough to send e-mail transcripts of quotes from their coaches and players, and so I'm going through those on the plane. Came across some stuff from Giants center David Baas, who spent the last six years with the 49ers before signing with the Giants last offseason. Baas was asked about the emergence of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft but took until this season to start living up to it.
"With Alex, I've always believed he's had it in him," Baas told reporters at the Giants' practice facility. "He just needed a lot more guys to believe in him. I feel like he's gotten that, and I feel like their approach with him, just being one of the guys, one of the teammates, trying not to do too much, has really worked for him."
After taking out Tony Romo, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers in eliminations games the past three weeks, the Giants this week face Smith, who doesn't bring the same name recognition or remotely the same numbers. But Smith has led six fourth-quarter comeback game-winning drives this season, including one against the Giants in Week 10 and one Saturday night against the Saints. So while he's not the big name to which the Giants have grown accustomed, he is dangerous. The Giants, whose own quarterback has six game-winning drives this year, preached "finishing" last week. And after the way Smith and the Niner offense came to life when it needed to against the Saints, they'd do well to pay attention to that this week too.
As for Baas, he's looking forward to seeing old friends, but that's about as far as he'll let the 49ers connection go.
"Congratulations to them," Baas said. "I know they're having really good success out there. But to be honest, I'm worried about the New York Giants and our team here."