Smith focused on execution, mouthpiece in opener

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Smith focused on execution, mouthpiece in opener

SANTA CLARA -- Alex Smith's 2011 preseason got out to a rough start against the Saints, and it taught the 49ers quarterback a valuable lesson.

"Wear your mouthpiece for preseason," Smith said. "Bad decision last year."

Smith was without his mouth guard when he was roughed up in San Francisco's 24-3 loss to New Orleans. Other than protecting his dentition, Smith's main goal in this year's preseason opener is to make plays.

"I'm going to go out there and try to execute each and every single play I get, and make the most of the opportunity," Smith said. "Keep playing until they pull me out."

Harbaugh has a number in mind for the snaps each starter will likely receive Friday night, but he hasn't informed the team, and Smith sees it as a positive.

"You start telling guys, 'Hey you get this many plays,' he starts counting down," Smith said. "Waiting to get out."

With two of his top receivers new to the franchise this year -- Randy Moss and Mario Manningham -- you would expect Smith to want to build a connection with them in their first live action against NFL opponents. Smith shied away from setting goals with his receivers, instead saying he's just looking to get the work in.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed Randy Moss would play, though it will be Ted Ginn and Michael Crabtree who make the start. It will be the first preseason game of Crabtree's four-year NFL career.

Smith is looking forward to trying out his weapons against an unsuspecting opponent.

"When you're going against our defense, you're seeing the same looks a lot of the time," Smith said. "Now all of a sudden, we're going against somebody new. And you have that unknown factor. You have to make those adjustments on the fly.

"You have to go through it."

Smith will go through it against the Minnesota Vikings when he makes his first trip to Candlestick since last year's NFC Championship Friday at 6 p.m.

He'll be wearing his mouthpiece.

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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