Alex Smith on Kaepernick's success: 'It's good for the team'

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Alex Smith on Kaepernick's success: 'It's good for the team'

Here's what Alex Smith had to say when he met with the media on Wednesday:"What have you been told about being cleared?
"Still in the process. I've been cleared to go back out and practice. I'll be out there in the (black) jersey and just start the process again and continue it."How do you feel?
"I feel good. I'm kind of expecting things to go well, but still got steps to go through."A week ago you said you felt good then, too.
"Yeah, I felt good. Just didn't work out. Didn't get cleared. But I'm feeling better, definitely feeling better."Did you experience symptoms over the weekend?
"I tried to push it and go out and practice, yeah, I just wasn't right, so the doctors didn't end up clearing me."Was it a headache?
"I'm not going to get into the symptoms that were going on. Just tried to push it early in the week and there were still some lingering things."Is the final hurdle the contact practice?
"Yeah, no big deal was made of that. The big thing for me as a quarterback is kind of, yeah, you got to get out there had have a little contact with the helmet on, and get banged around a little bit, but it's not a huge thing. "And it never came to that last week, correct?
"No, I never did that."RELATED: Harbaugh in no hurry to decide 49ers' starting QB
Jim Harbaugh said it could be a week-to-week decision. How do you view that?
"Any time the next guy steps up and plays well, it's a good thing for the team. Let's not get this wrong. If this were any other position, it's a great thing. Now, does it complicate things for me and Colin? Yeah. The quarterback position gets a lot of attention. A lot is going to be written and talked about. There's only one ball. Only one guy is going to be under center. It's part of the deal. This is a good thing for this team. This is a good problem. Those are the decisions for Coach. That's his position. We just play football."Do you feel like you're competing with him for the job right now?
"No, I feel like I'm trying to get healthy and get back out there and prove I can play. And part of that is getting cleared. That's where I'm at right now."You're having the best season of your career. Would you expect when you're healthy you should get the starting job back?
"You don't expect anything. This is the nature of the game. The next guy steps up and plays well. That's part of the deal in this game. Competition is part of it, as well. So don't know what's going to happen."RELATED: Harbaugh's three options at QB
Were you surprised your coach left the door open?
"No, once again, that's his call. Colin played great. He stepped up and played really well on a big stage against a good defense. It comes with the territory."You said it complicates things between you and Colin. What conversations have you had?
"Just all this stuff. He and I have talked quite a few times since then. In my opinion, if you can't be happy for your teammate's success, you're playing the wrong sport. Go play tennis or golf or something. That's ridiculous, I think. It doesn't belong in team sports, in my opinion. Like I said, it's the quarterback position. It's going to get a lot of attention. We're going to get talked about. But it's important that it doesn't come in here (the locker room)."He's a high draft pick. Did you think something like this could happen?
"Well, he's a good player. Yeah, I knew what he potentially was capable of. He's shown it on the practice field. He's shown it when he got his opportunities. That's always the case, high draft pick or not. Ultimately the decision came down to me and my healthy and whether I was OK. And didn't feel like it was something I could tough through. You can't tough through something like that and ultimately the doctors didn't clear me."How important is it for a quarterback to know going into the game he's going to be the starter and dividing the practice reps during the week?
"The reps are obviously important through the week. I don't think you live and die by them, by any means. But, yeah, it's a part of the deal. We've always done a good job here splitting reps up throughout the week, as far as starter and backup goes. We'll see how it goes this week."Can you reflect on that game against the Saints in January and how much this game means for both teams?
"Yeah, no question, they're a hot team, been playing really well the last few weeks, on a roll. They get a little chance at revenge, get us back in their place. I think everybody that watched that game remembers it. And certainly us that took part in it. I know that. It was a physical game, it was back and forth, some talking going on out there on the field. So I'm sure it's in the back of their heads. I'm sure they remember it and the chance to get us on their turf."I'm sure this game has been circled for a long time?
"Yeah, I knew when the schedule came out it was something I looked at, when we were playing them, and down there at their place. So I'm sure it was the same for them."The way 2010 ended with you starting one week and Troy Smith the next Do you look back at how you handled yourself during that stretch? Is it similar to what you might face now?
"Yeah, I've been in a few of these, you know? And they're all different. YI think the great thing is obviously the character of this locker room. We've got great character in the quarterback room, too. Chance to really kind of be different and set a great example for the team, us. It's not easy, it can be complicated, but this is a good problem for the 49ers. It's a good problem for us as a team. It's not a bad thing. There's only one ball, though. That's what makes it tough, so we'll see how it goes."Were there aspects of Colin's performance that you thought were especially good?
"I think just going out there and, for me, on a big stage, good defense that really has kind of really over-powered some offenses the weeks prior, just going out there and attacking was the biggest thing for a young quarterback. To get out there and to get timid or not to be aggressive. For him to get out there and really cut it loose, it was a good thing to see.

49ers extend one-year qualifying offers to Purcell, Bradford

49ers extend one-year qualifying offers to Purcell, Bradford

The 49ers on Monday extended one-year qualifying offers to nose tackle Mike Purcell and linebacker Carl Bradford as exclusive-rights free agents.

Purcell appeared in 15 games last season. He started the first five games of the season at nose tackle and was a reserve for the remainder of the season. Originally signed in 2013 as an undrafted rookie from Wyoming, Purcell has appeared in 25 games over the past three seasons.

The 49ers claimed Bradford off waivers in December from the Green Bay Packers. He appeared in the final two games of the season with the 49ers and was credited with two tackles.

Bradford entered the NFL out of Arizona State as a fourth-round pick of the Packers in 2014. After being inactive for every game as a rookie, Bradford was among Green Bay’s final cuts in 2015. He spent the season on the practice squad.

He appeared in four games for the Packers last year. The 49ers claimed him after he was waived in December.

Exclusive rights free agents are player who have fewer than three years of NFL service who have no outside negotiating power if a team extends a qualifying offer.

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

The 49ers’ new regime heads to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week with the first major wave of offseason activity set to kick off.

Already, the 49ers have made roster improvements. And there figure to be plenty of activity ahead in the coming weeks.

Here are some questions submitted by readers on Facebook for this edition of 49ers Mailbag:

Do you see the 49ers cutting ties with larger contracts like Bethea, Torrey Smith and Ahmad Brooks?‬ (Blair Wilkins)
The 49ers have approximately $75 million in space under the salary cap – and that’s before any adjustment of Colin Kaepernick’s contract. So it’s not as if the organization needs to create cap room.

Any decision made to part ways with veteran players will be made solely on how that player fits into what the 49ers envision on the field.

And that’s what general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff are doing now. They are studying the video from last season to determine which players fit their ideals.

Safety Antoine Bethea is scheduled to earn $5.75 million. Bethea, 32, enters the final year of his contract. There is no question he is everything the 49ers want in a player off the field. If one of the younger guys is not better than Bethea, there is no reason to get rid of him.

Brooks is on the books to earn $5.3 million in 2017. That’s not a huge amount for a starting outside linebacker or defensive end – whichever spot he might fit best. The 49ers must look to upgrade their pass rush. Brooks turns 33 next month. He’s good for six sacks a season. Again, it’s not as if the 49ers can’t afford him. And, as of now, it’s not as if the 49ers have anyone better.

Smith is scheduled to earn $8 million. He has been vastly underutilized in his two seasons since signing with the 49ers. He’s the most interesting case of the high-priced veterans.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense is predicated on using the running game to set up the play-action shot down the field. Smith is limited. He’s not a possession receiver. He’s not going to make plays over the middle. He is an outside receiver whose contributions come in the vertical passing game. But that’s what Shanahan wants.

If Smith is paired with a strong tight end, a running back who catch the ball out of the backfield, a slot receiver with short-area quickness to get open underneath, a very good receiver on the other side and an accurate quarterback who can throw the deep ball, there should be a role for Smith in the 49ers’ offense.

Will the 49ers continue to be aggressive pursuing free agents this offseason? If so, what positions?‬ (Bradley Lodge)
The 49ers have zeroed in on two veteran free agents and they signed them both.

The organization has already spent more money than it did all of last offseason on veteran free agency with the four-year, $16 million deal to sign defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, whom the Miami Dolphins recently released.

Nickel back K’Waun Williams has a history with 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley. The 49ers did not have to make much of a financial investment to sign him.

The 49ers will definitely go after a veteran quarterback or two in free agency or via trade. Pass rusher, inside linebacker and wide receiver are other positions the 49ers can be expected to look during free agency.

The opening of the new league year – when free-agent signings and trades can occur – is March 9. The draft is seven weeks later.

The 49ers must fill as many of their needs with smart deals that fit into the long-term plan with veteran acquisitions. Then, the draft is about taking the best players on their board when it’s time to select. Teams that reach for need generally strike out.

What are the chances of drafting a QB with first pick and playing them behind a Kap / Cousins until they're ready to become starter?‬ (Hillory Broussard)
If Colin Kaepernick returns, it will not be as a no-questions-asked starter. Just read what Lynch said on KNBR this week about the team’s needs:

“Do we have some places – probably the ultimate position, quarterback – where we need to improve? Absolutely. And we’re committed to doing that.”

That statement can easily be interpreted that Lynch does not believe the 49ers had a starting-caliber quarterback on the roster last season.

But if the 49ers were to go out and swing a trade for Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s going to take a big commitment – in terms of draft picks and a suitable new contract. Then, the 49ers would have that player.

Cousins or Garoppolo would unquestionably fill the 49ers’ need at quarterback for 2017 and beyond -- at least in the minds of the 49ers' new decision-makers. There would be no reason for the 49ers to then draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick – if the 49ers even had the No. 2 overall pick at that point.