Veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander enters OTAs this offseason much better than last season. Having missed the majority of the 2013 with a Lis Franc injury, he was not full speed at this point last year.
Speaking to NBC Sports Radio 1060's Ed Cole, Alexander is ready for a better 2014 and really wants to win.
"It's night and day for me, as far as last year at this time, coming off the Lis Franc in 2013," he said, explaining where he is right now this offseason. "It really hindered my offseason preparation for the 2014 season."
He said the coaching staff can note a difference in the way he is moving around on the field. "They say it's not even a comparison."
Alexander began OTAs as a first team outside linebacker. It is the role he held when he first joined the team in 2013 as a free agent. He was the starter until his foot injury ended his season.
Last season, he only played 53 defensive snaps all season.
Now healthy again in the offseason and able to do more, he is ready for a bigger role, both on defense and on special teams, where he has made his career in the NFL.
"I definitely feel more confident this year to be able to push for a larger role on defense," he said. "I'm more retro Lorenzo Alexander on special teams this year, competing with (Justin) Bethel for that Pro Bowl spot."
While he would like to play more, as all players do, he has the right perspective. "Obviously going to the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl is the number one goal."
"I've been to a Pro Bowl, I've been a starter, but I haven't won a Super Bowl," he said. "Whatever (the coaches) find is my best role within the scheme to achieve that, I'm willing to do that."
With a group of young outside linebackers in the fold and veteran LaMarr Woodley in the mix, how much Alexander plays is yet to be determined. He has not been the impact player on the field on defense or special teams so far because of the injury and the recovery from it.
He already is a well respected in the locker room. He was a special teams captain a season ago. Now healthy, maybe he can find his way and be the stud special teamer he has been his entire career and make at least a few plays on defense.
The attitude he has is what the whole group needs -- desire play, but understand there is something bigger at stake -- a championship. That is the hope for this season, at least.