Alex Smith and the deep ball: 'It's a fine line'

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Alex Smith and the deep ball: 'It's a fine line'

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith threw more passes of over 20 yards Sunday against the New York Jets than he attempted in the 49ers' first three games combined."It's funny -- you hate saying this -- but some days you hit all of them and some days you don't," Smith said on Wednesday."It's kind of like that with the long ball sometimes. It's such a fine line and they're not high-percentage throws. But, for sure, the more you do it, the better you get."Smith completed two of his six attempts for 51 yards, according to statistics supplied by Pro Football Focus, on deep throws Sunday in the 49ers' 34-0 victory over the New York Jets. Two of his deep passes for Mario Manningham were long. Manningham also caught a 26-yard pass from Smith in the first quarter.Smith said his first overthrow to Manningham was too flat. The second one, Smith said was a matter of about 6 inches too long -- "a fine line," he called it. In both cases, Manningham's progress on the route appeared to be impeded by Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson."It certainly affects it when you're getting held out there, as far as throwing the ball down the field," Smith said. "I'm not throwing to a spot, blindly. You're looking at the receiver, trying to get a feel for his angle, his speed and trying to hit him running."According to PFF, Smith is 5 of 10 on passes that travel more than 20 yards for 114 yards and one touchdown. He and tight end Vernon Davis have not seemed to have any problems connecting on the deep ball.RELATED: Alex Smith career stats 2012 game logs
"It's something he and I have a lot of work on," Smith said. "We've worked on it a lot over the years. He's someone I feel extremely comfortable with, letting he ball go. We have a good relationship. (I) definitely feel comfortable there, and getting there with the other guys."Smith said he generally made all the right decisions against a Jets defense that was taking away some of the underneath routes. After reviewing the film he felt secure with his decision-making."Sunday I thought I saw everything well," he said. "There wasn't much when I turned on the tape that surprised me."Really, a couple deep shots we had, just wish we could've hit them. We were close on all of them. And it's a fine line between hitting those and not."Smith spent time in Southern California before the start of the 49ers' offseason program working on his mechanics with former major league pitching coach Tom House. Now, he said his concentration is more on the week-to-week preparations to face the upcoming opponent.REWIND: Alex Smith enlists help from unlikely coach
When asked how his mechanics are holding up, Smith said, "I feel good. At this point, it's not something I'm thinking a lot about. I feel healthy. I feel really good. (My) shoulder feels great. My body feels good. That's the most important thing."Smith, who completed 61.3 percent of his passes a year ago during his best NFL season, has opened this season with a 67.3 accuracy rate through the first four games. His passer rating stands at 98.1."There's always room for improvement," Smith said. "You only seem to be as happy as your last game. As a quarterback, it's always, 'I could've done better' or 'What are the throws I could've made or what could I've done differently.'

"The bottom line is getting the win. Obviously, it was a great win (against the Jets). Looking to get better and move on toward the Bills."

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

The San Francisco 49ers Wednesday announced that Tom Gamble is leaving the organization. 

“The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service,” said General Manager John Lynch. “He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future.”
 
“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” said Gamble. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Gamble, who recently completed his 29th NFL season and 10th with the 49ers, returned to the team in January of 2015 as the senior personnel executive and was later named assistant general manager on July 25, 2016. He spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as vice president of player personnel. Gamble originally joined the 49ers in 2005 and spanned eight seasons with San Francisco including two as the director of player personnel (2011-12). He oversaw both the college and pro personnel efforts of the 49ers. As the 49ers director of pro personnel from 2005-10, Gamble monitored every NFL roster with an emphasis on scouting talent of upcoming pro free agents, while also maintaining continuous depth of personnel on the team’s roster.

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Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

General manager John Lynch confirmed during a radio interview that he and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan met with quarterback Colin Kaepernick at his office Wednesday morning at the team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“I would characterize it as just a really positive discussion,” Lynch said during an appearance on KNBR, confirming a CSNBayArea.com report the sides met for the first time since Lynch and Shanahan were hired in their new roles.

Lynch said he and Shanahan have committed to being completely honest with Kaepernick, who can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent as early as next week.

Lynch did not divulge the topics of conversation. He said a commitment was also made to Kaepernick to not speak publicly about the specifics of their conversations.

“I do think that there are some things that are sacred,” Lynch said. “We did have a great discussion and I think Colin left excited and we left excited.

“And I think as Kyle and I believe, the evaluation process is still very much fluid. We’ve only been on the job a couple of weeks and I can tell you we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he’s in a real good place.”