SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers play the Denver Broncos on Sunday, which means San Francisco's offseason interest in Peyton Manning is sure to be dissected yet again.Whatever anyone believes regarding Jim Harbaugh's intentions with Manning, Smith says his relationship with his head coach is just fine."No awkwardness. I think anyone who's been around Coach Harbaugh for a while realizes, I think it's a great thing about him, he's going to tell you what he thinks. Good or bad," Smith said."He's going to give you his honest opinion and you appreciate that as someone who's been around a long time and been around coaches. You appreciate a guy telling you the truth and being honest with you even if it's not what you want to hear."Smith also appreciates Harbaugh's detailed coaching style and feels he is improved fundamentally because of it. As Smith enters his second year in the same system, the praise by his coaches and teammates this preseason is not over better footwork, but his mastery of the offense."(He) totally understands the offense now," said offensive coordinator Greg Roman emphatically. "He can recite things. He can fix things. Understands where people are. When you go back and look at our first early games last season, just getting through a straight progression was a work in progress relative to where it was late in the season relative to what it is now."He's getting through his reads quicker. He's eliminating reads earlier. Really just taking ownership of our offense. He understands all the different things that we do. He's really, really, really intelligent, bright football player. Really intelligent. He is super smart. Savant like at times."Dropping "really" four times to describe Smith's mental acumen may seem a bit much, but his teammates believe it's accurate."He's always learning. Always does a good job of just knowing completely everything," left tackle Joe Staley said. "He sits in our meeting sometimes and when we're going over our calls and stuff, just to get a better idea of what we're trying to do so he can be on the same page as us. His recall and his overall knowledge of the offense and what everyone is doing on every single play is amazing."Smith remains low key on his progress. His says his comfort level has allowed him to work at a quicker pace in training camp, and he has seen the benefits in the first two exhibition games. "We've ran the ball really well this preseason," Smith said. "Kept ourselves in better situations. We've been ahead of the chains. A lot of positive plays."The one area Roman would like to see Smith improve is his sack numbers. Opponents sacked Smith a league leading 44 times last season. Part of that was Smith taking what Roman called the "smart sack." In doing so, Smith threw a league-low five interceptions."The one thing that Alex did through all that, a historically great job of protecting the football," Roman said. Smith has yet to throw an interception this preseason though he was sacked twice in the two drives he led in the loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday.A point of emphasis is for the entire offense, from improved blocking to the receiver's gaining better separation, to reduce that sack number.Really, really, really, really reduce it.
The 49ers have held discussions with three teams inside the top 10 and three teams outside the top 10 about a possible trade for the No. 2 overall pick, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday.
The Cleveland Browns decision-makers met Thursday and finalized the team’s plan to select Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reported, citing multiple league sources.
Garrett’s spot as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft had not been in doubt until this week. On Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported he was hearing from “well-connected people” who thought the Browns could take North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at No. 1.
The Browns are believed to be interested in trading back up to get into a position to select Trubisky.
The 49ers, coming off a 2-14 season, are in a position to trade out of the No. 2 pick because of their need at multiple positions.
General manager John Lynch has stated that the 49ers are “open for business” when it comes to holding discussions with any teams interested in acquiring the 49ers’ No. 2 overall pick.
SANTA CLARA – The 49ers already have three safeties selected within the top two rounds of the draft.
But as the organization has considered its options with the No. 2 overall pick, LSU safety Jamal Adams had been in the discussion. Adams recently visited the 49ers, where he and Eric Reid had a chance to catch up with each other.
Reid’s final season at LSU was 2013. The 49ers traded up to select him with the No. 18 overall pick. The 49ers drafted Jimmie Ward at the end of the first round in 2014, and Jaquiski Tartt was a second-round pick in 2015.
In the past 25 years, only two safeties -- Eric Berry (2010) and Sean Taylor (2004) – have been selected in the top five. Both were chosen with the No. 5 overall selection. Adams has a chance to go as early as No. 2 overall.
“I’m excited to see where he ends up. He could end up here. You know what I’m saying?” Reid said on Wednesday at the 49ers’ voluntary minicamp.
“He’s the best one in the draft. Someone will be very happy to have him, I’m sure.”
Adams (5 foot 11 ¾, 214 pounds) is considered more of a box safety. He recorded five interceptions in his 36-game college career, but Reid said he believes Adams can also play free safety.
“No doubt,” Reid said. “The kid can do it all. That’s why they got him projected to go where he is. I believe he could.”
In the 49ers’ new defense, which is based on Seattle’s scheme, Ward is getting a long look at free safety in the team’s minicamp. Ward started at cornerback last season.
After recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid has one interception over the past two seasons. He played 10 games last season before sustaining a season-ending with a torn biceps.
Reid said he is learning a new position but he believes playing closer to the line of scrimmage suits him. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the season as he plays this year with a salary of $5.676 million on the fifth-year option.
“I’m used to being on the back end,” Reid said. “I’m used to dealing with a lot more space. So, really, it’s the run game. And the run fits, knowing the gap schemes, the run (stunts) and knowing where the D-linemen are going to fit and filling the holes. That’s been the biggest difference for me.
“I like it. I’m a bigger safety in this league, so I think it’ll work for me.”
And what if the 49ers select Adams on Thursday evening?
”That’ll be interesting,” Reid said. “We’d have to battle it out. We’ll see how it goes.”