NEW ORLEANS — For Brad Seely, the 2012 season has been eerily reminiscent of 2001. In both years, he saw the established starting quarterback suffer an injury and lose his job to his second-year backup, then he watched the young gun lead his team to the Super Bowl.
Seely was the special teams coach with the Patriots in 2001 when Drew Bledsoe was hurt in Week 2 and Tom Brady took over; he holds the same position now with the 49ers, and saw Alex Smith, injured in Week 9, supplanted by Colin Kaepernick.
The key in both cases, Seely said, is in how the displaced quarterback handled things.
“I think both people that did not have their job after they came back from injury — I’m not saying they lost it or whatever — they both handled it very professionally,” Seely said.
“Drew, I thought, did a great job of handling that and he was always ready to play, and he proved that when we went to the AFC Championship game, where he came in and threw a touchdown when Tom got hurt.
“And Alex, man, he’s been very professional about it. To me, that’s the guys that can cause the problems, the guys that don’t have that job anymore, and both of those guys were real pros about how they handled it.”
Though Bledsoe and Smith still had their share of supporters in the locker room, each also did his best to make that a non-issue as well.
Still, Seely felt for Bledsoe the way he feels for Smith now.
“Sure. No doubt about it,” he said. “I’m sure Drew looked at it, I know Alex looked at it and said, ‘This is my team. This is my team.’ And now all of a sudden I’m not in charge of my team, so I’m sure they have feelings like that.”
Seely, is of course excited to be back in the Super Bowl for the fifth time.
“Like we tell the team, sometimes I’ll forget about those games that happened in November, December, but you’ll always remember this game,” he said. “That’s why the players and the coaches, that’s why we do the work all year, is to get here.”
Hearing an echo
John and Jim Harbaugh were pretty happy with the way their teams practiced this week; they even used the same phrases to describe the performance of their players in the final tune-ups.
“It was an A-plus — A-plus-plus,” John Harbaugh said of the Ravens practice Friday. “We’re at the stage where we’re clicking on all cylinders and practicing very, very well. We’ve had a few assignment errors, but they’ve been corrected right away. I’m very pleased with how the week has gone.”
When Jim Harbaugh was asked how Kaepernick has been doing this week in practices, he said, “Exemplary.”
“That’s the way he always is, since I’ve known him,” said the 49ers coach. “This is always the way he handles himself — A-plus-plus. He’s very focused on the game plan. He’s ready to go.”
Apparently the brothers have created a new grading scale.