LIVE: 49ers-Saints pregame chat with Matt Maiocco -- today at 4 p.m.!

LIVE: 49ers-Saints pregame chat with Matt Maiocco -- today at 4 p.m.!

DeAndre Smelter gets second chance with 49ers

DeAndre Smelter gets second chance with 49ers

SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter is healthy and he’s back for a second opportunity to prove himself.

Smelter was inactive as a rookie last season as he rehabilitated from a torn ACL that cut short his final year of college ball. And the 49ers never really got a chance to see what he could do during the offseason program and training camp due to a hamstring injury.

After he was waived in September, Smelter went unclaimed and never signed with another team. The 49ers brought him back this week to take a spot on the team’s practice squad.

Said 49ers coach Chip Kelly, “It was one of those deals is that you never saw enough of him to really make an accurate decision on, ‘Hey, can he really contribute and help? So, let’s give him an opportunity when he’s healthy.’”

The 49ers drafted Smelter (6 foot 2, 210 pounds) despite his limited college exposure to a passing offense. He played 25 games at Georgia Tech, which runs the triple-option offense. In his final college season, he caught 35 passes for 715 yards and seven touchdowns.

He was considered a project when he began practicing with the 49ers during his first training camp. But he never was healthy for a long enough period of time to develop.

“It was a real serious hamstring injury,” Kelly said. “You feel bad for the player because he’s put so much time and invested so much time coming in and being on IR the first year and getting ready to show us what he can do but then really didn’t have a chance to show us what he can do.

“It happened before our first preseason game, so we never really got a chance to see him in action.”

The 49ers on Tuesday waived wide receiver Dres Anderson from the practice squad to create the opening for Smelter.

Kelly already sees Kaepernick improvement

Kelly already sees Kaepernick improvement

SANTA CLARA – In his second week handling the bulk of the team’s first-team practice snaps, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has shown noticeable improvements, according to his coach.

“Yeah, you can see that,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said Thursday. “I think he played three snaps in the first game, but his last extensive playing time was in the San Diego game, which was our last preseason game, which was over six weeks ago. What you’re trying to do is get him into a rhythm.”

Kaepernick replaced Blaine Gabbert as the 49ers’ starting quarterback a week ago. He will make his second start of the season on Sunday when the 49ers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium.

“I think for any quarterback you’re just looking for consistency,” Kelly said. “The chemistry or the relationship that’s where the receivers are, knowing where, as they come out of their break, where they’re going to be. Is one guy a little bit sharper out of his cut? Is one guy a little bit deeper out of his cut?

“Obviously reading the defense as you go, but just getting a little bit more consistent, a little bit more familiar because he is getting more snaps. Sometimes when you’re the two that’s difficult because you’re not getting as many snaps.”

Kaepernick completed 13 of 29 pass attempts for 187 yards with one touchdown and no interception in the 49eres’ 45-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The game was played in 22 mph wind.

In speaking about Kaepernick’s attributes, Kelly said he believes his quarterback has the necessary throwing touch and anticipation.

“I think he does have anticipation. He does have the ability to throw guys open,” Kelly said. “There’s certain balls you have to put some touch on to throw and I’ve seen that displayed in practice. I think one of the things that’s difficult in terms of grading Colin just from the first game that he played in Buffalo is I don’t think anybody was really accurate. But a lot of that had to do with the weather.

“So, hopefully, back here in the friendly confines of Levi’s, we’ll be in a little bit better situation, a little bit better weather in terms of us throwing the football.”