Harbaugh in no hurry to decide 49ers' starting QB

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Harbaugh in no hurry to decide 49ers' starting QB

SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday it's in the 49ers' best interest to not make any snap decision on which quarterback will be taking snaps under center Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.He plans to keep the Saints, and everybody else guessing.
Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick?Harbaugh said there is no wrong answer for the 49ers, who at 7-2-1 are currently in line to be the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs."We'll let it play out. I wouldn't expect an announcement today or any timeline on that. We'll get that to you."Smith, who sat out Monday's game after experiencing concussion symptoms, has been cleared to return to limited practice. And Harbaugh said he expects Smith to be available to play Sunday."I think it's a matter of time before he is," Harbaugh said. "He's going to practice again today."Pretty confident that it'll play out and he's going to be cleared, and that's talking to the doctors and talking to Alex. But I can't definitively say."Maiocco: Harbaugh's three options at quarterback
Smith was cleared last week for practices, but he was downgraded over the weekend after he said he pushed it too hard during practices.Kaepernick played well enough to stir up a 49ers quarterback debate. Harbaugh left the door wide open for a controversy following Kaepernick's strong performance in the 49ers' 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday night."I know everybody took the opportunity after the big win the other night to talk non-stop about the quarterback situation and very little about the great victory, both offensively and defensively, special teams," Harbaugh said. "And the way we view it right now is we have two quarterbacks who we are confident in and who work for us and we believe in. To me, it's the opposite of a controversy, where controversy is argument between opposing points of view. This is a decision that will be made from a team aspect, coming from the same direction."Most of the people who really want to know and really care, don't really care whether we win or lose, to be honest with you. I don't know know if it's in our best interest to make a snap decision on that. We'll get all the factors weighed out and we'll come to the best decision for our team."Smith, an eight-year pro, is having his best NFL season. He ranks third in the NFL with a 104.1 passer rating. He is first in the NFL with a 70.0 completion percentage. And his 7.98 yards per attempt is third in the league."This is not one of those situations where you have the aging starting quarterback and everybody is clamoring for the young, backup quarterback," Harbaugh said. "Or the struggling guy and they want the next guy. Of the young guy is in there struggling, and people are clamoring for the popular backup. We have to really good guys."Harbaugh said it's not out of the question that the 49ers could go week-to-week with their decisions on which player starts -- or even which player goes on the field from series to series."I think it's a unique situation, yeah, to have two really good players," Harbaugh said. "Could we? Yes, we could."

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ biggest free-agent acquisition on defense and one of the team’s first-round draft picks play the same position.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he is holding off on thinking about how everything is going to play out this season at the linebacker position.

“I really try not to envision it too hard because I see a lot of good players there,” Shanahan said Tuesday during the 49ers’ first week of organized team activities.

The 49ers awarded weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith guaranteed money as an unrestricted free agent totaling approximately $12 million. Then, on the first day of the draft, the 49ers’ No. 3 rated prospect experienced a free fall, and the club traded into the back end of the first round to select him.

While Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has been sidelined through the offseason program as he recovers from shoulder injury, he figures to compete with Smith for the starting job. Foster will also learn middle linebacker, where NaVorro Bowman has earned first-team All-Pro honors in four seasons.

Bowman looks to be nearly all the way back from a torn Achilles that limited him to just four games last season.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Shanahan said. “Seeing Bow out here and how healthy he’s been, knowing we’ve added some good free agents, and the way the draft worked out, having a linebacker we had ranked very highly fall to us at the end of the first round. We got a lot better pretty fast.

“When you ask me how it’s going to play out, I’m not sure. It’s a good problem to have. It’s something you’d like to have any every position. There’s going to be a very good player who’s not out there all the time. That’s not a bad thing. That makes the two guys who are out there go a lot harder and play better. It makes special teams better and it allowed you to survive injuries, which almost always happen.”

Bowman’s vision for the upcoming season includes him retaining his role in the middle of the 49ers’ defense.

"I won't be on the sideline, I'll tell you that right now,” Bowman said.

Bowman said he was not fazed with the 49ers selected Foster in the first round. Foster is likely considered the heir apparent to Bowman.

Shanahan called Bowman after the selection of Foster was made, but Bowman said he did not need to speak with the coach about why the selection was made.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Bowman said of the phone call, “but it was good to hear from him, to see that he had something to say or an idea of what he wanted to get across to me.

“But we haven’t talked about it. I did that on purpose. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll compete with anyone, whether he’s 21 or 35. It doesn’t matter. I’m a guy who’s going to give my best effort and have full confidence in my abilities to play this game. I know how much I study this game. I know how good I am and that’s what was going to bring back here.

“It’s always a competition. There’s always someone trying to take your spot. As a player, if you keep that in mind, you’ll always put the work in that’s needed.”

 

49ers reissue Bryant Young's number

49ers reissue Bryant Young's number

SANTA CLARA -- For the first time since Bryant Young retired following the 2007 season, the 49ers have placed his old number back into service.

Linebacker Dekoda Watson was issued No. 97 for the team’s organized team activities this week.

Young was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and eight-time winner of the Len Eshmont Award as the 49ers’ most inspirational and courageous player. No 49ers player has worn No. 97 in the past nine seasons or offseasons.

Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas is now wearing No. 94 after being issued No. 96 for the rookie minicamp. Linebacker Reuben Foster is wearing No. 56.

Rookie defensive tackle D.J. Jones now wearing No. 96. Cornerback Rashard Robinson switched back to No. 33 after an earlier change to No. 26. Running back Kapri Bibbs is now 26. Rookie running back Joe Williams is No. 32 after wearing No. 33 at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles over the weekend. Veteran running back Tim Hightower is wearing No. 22.