Alex Smith throwing with better accuracy

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Alex Smith throwing with better accuracy

Programming note: Log on today at 12:45 p.m. to our live stream page for today's 49ers press conference from Santa Clara with OC Greg Roman, WR Michael Crabtree and CB Carlos Rogers!

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith has looked good during the offseason months in previous years. But he has never looked quite like this.His strong training camp continued Tuesday with an outstanding start to the 49ers' three-hour practice. The only incomplete pass among his first 25 attempts came when his toss to Randy Moss, running the back line of the end zone, zipped through Moss' hands.RELATED: 49ers camp summary (814): Smith heats up, new depth chart
Smith's next two incomplete passes were deep attempts to tight end Vernon Davis late in practice. Three of Smith's final four attempts were incomplete -- no need to sound the alarm.Smith looks to be better at every aspect of his game. Obviously, with a year of experience working with Jim Harbaugh, Greg Roman and Geep Chryst, his knowledge of the system is better than ever.Examining him with the naked eye -- usually from a hundred yards away, where the media is stationed during practices -- it's impossible to pinpoint any dramatic mechanical differences. But the Alex Smith I've seen through 14 practices has been noticeably more accurate with his short, intermediate and deep passes. He also appears to be quicker with his decision-making.I'm not predicting a Pro Bowl season for Smith. But I am predicting the 49ers' passing game will be more formidable than a year ago when the team ranked 31st in the league in third-down conversions and 29th in passing yards.The 49ers have surrounded Smith with better options. As written and talked about after the 49ers' exhibition opener, look for the 49ers to use a lot more variety in the passing game. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis are the team's top targets, and expect Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to share time as the Nos. 2 and 3 wideouts.Smith signed a three-year, 24 million contract in the offseason. His average salary places him in a tie with Matt Schaub for 18th-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. Schaub and Joe Flacco, whose contracts expire after this season, will likely bump Smith down to No. 20 next year.Once thought to be worth nowhere near the financial investment of the No. 1 overall pick, Smith could become one of the best bargain players in the NFL if his training camp carries over to the regular season.

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

PHOENIX – The 49ers had a recent visit with Tampa Bay free-agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, general manager John Lynch confirmed on Sunday.

Smith, 27, sustained a torn right ACL in the Buccaneers’ season opener in September while running down the field on punt coverage against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers gave Smith a physical during his visit to Santa Clara. The club has yet to make a contract offer, Lynch said.

"We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see," Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings.

Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 and seven sacks in 2015 for the Buccaneers.

After going undrafted in 2012 out of Missouri, Smith signed with Miami. He spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before landing on the New York Jets’ practice squad. Smith worked his way into the Buccaneers’ defensive-line rotation in ’14 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.

The Buccaneers gave Smith the low tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. Any team can sign Smith to an offer sheet. Tampa Bay would have the right of first refusal but would get no compensation if the team chooses not to match the contract.

With 71 players under contract, the 49ers have $74.5 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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