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.

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's D-line coach

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's D-line coach

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.

Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.

It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.

Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.

Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.

After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.

Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.

Falcons coach Quinn: Kyle Shanahan 'totally nailed that' vs Packers

Falcons coach Quinn: Kyle Shanahan 'totally nailed that' vs Packers

The Atlanta Falcons have provided the 49ers with a window from Friday afternoon through Saturday to meet with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a source told CSNBayArea.com.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has structured a normal work week to begin preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Quinn said at a press conference on Monday. The Falcons will have a day off on Saturday before the team travels to Houston on Sunday.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Shanahan is the presumptive 49ers coach -- the only candidate remaining among the six whom 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed. Shanahan's offense rolled up 493 total yards and converted 10 of 13 (77 percent) third-down opportunities en route to a 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.

“I’m really proud of him,” said Quinn, who was hired by the Falcons two years ago after he served as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator in Super Bowl 49.

“It’s not easy to do when there’s a lot of speculation and things going on outside your world to stay dialed in. I think it’s one that should be commended. Being on point and going for it, he totally nailed that.”

Shanahan is also expected to be heavily involved in the 49ers’ search for a general manager. The two remaining candidates among the nine who previously interviewed are Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.

The 49ers have left open the possibility of adding more GM candidates to the list, according to a source.