SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers incorporated some designed quarterback runs into the game plan last week against the Cleveland Browns.
The plays were executed almost flawlessly, as quarterback Alex Smith had two 9-yard gains on plays that featured certain elements of the spread offense he ran in college. But one of the plays did not end so well.
Smith was late with his feet-first slide and good a big hit from safety Usama Young and cornerback Joe Haden. While 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Smith slid too late, the team still sent the video to the NFL for clarification. No penalty was called on the play."It's getting to the point where you don't know exactly what they're able to see, what the rule really is, the clarity of it all," Harbaugh said. "Yes, we're seeking it. Always want to be on top of that so you know what to tell the players."If Smith had given himself up earlier with a feet-first slide, a hit from a defender should have drawn a penalty."He shouldn't be sliding that late, feet first," Harbaugh said. "If you're going to go feet first, that's an early thing before you get into traffic. If it's going to be a late slide, it really needs to be head first or dropped to get as horizontal to the ground as possible."So did Smith believe he slid too late, too?"Yeah, I got kind of caught in one of those in-between positions in my mind," he said. "I think if you're really trying to be a runner and get the most as you can, you go down head first there and try to take a glancing blow, and get what you can. If you're really trying to do what you can, and get down, and not get touched, you slide earlier and avoid it. I kind of got caught in the in-between there. All of a sudden I'm in between two guys, and just kind of go down late awkwardly. Take a blow like that."