Why it's clear 49ers are banking on Alex Smith

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Why it's clear 49ers are banking on Alex Smith

Coach Jim Harbaugh is not expected to make any kind of announcement on his starting quarterback until 90 minutes before kickoff when teams must declare their inactive players.

The Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the week officially ruled their quarterbacks out with concussions. The 49ers made no such announcement because they have been planning on him playing since early in the week.
Quarterback Alex Smith is expected to start Monday night against the Chicago Bears because it's clear that the 49ers expect Alex Smith to start Monday night against the Bears.NEWS: Smith questionable, unofficially expected to start
If second-year player Colin Kaepernick were going to start, the 49ers' coaching staff would've given him all of the first-team snaps in practice in order to be properly prepared to face one of the top defenses in the NFL.If the 49ers started an under-prepared Kaepernick against the Bears, it would be a form of coaching malpractice.Instead, the 49ers approached practices about the same as they do on a normal week -- a week in which Smith is not returning to action after sustaining a concussion.When asked if Smith went through the same workload at practice as usual, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman answered, "Thereabouts."And how did Smith look at practice?"He's looked good," Roman said. "He's looked really sharp."Also, as reported Saturday, any time the past two seasons in which a 49ers player has returned from a concussion has been medically cleared to take part in even one day of limited practice, that player has played in the next game.In Smith's case, he took part in practices Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.But all might not be the same at the 49ers' quarterback position. Scott Tolzien, the 49ers' No. 3 quarterback, has been active for just one game in his two-year career. Last week, receiver Kyle Williams was on deck as the emergency No. 3 quarterback with Smith out of action and Kaepernick taking over against the St. Louis Rams.Will Tolzien be active Monday night?"That's a good question," Roman said. "An hour and a half before the game we'll make that decision, but that's possible."Tolzien said he has been given no indication whether he will be active for the game. In fact, he said he is informed the same way every week. Just prior to the official announcement, Tolzien is delivered the news on whether he'll be in uniform on the sideline.
Regardless, Tolzien said this week was normal for him. He had the same amount of reps with the scout team and none with the first-team offense.

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB reportedly agrees to terms

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB reportedly agrees to terms

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are reportedly adding a fourth quarterback to their 90-man roster.

Nick Mullens a four-year starter at Southern Mississippi, agreed to terms with the 49ers after the conclusion of the Saturday’s NFL draft, he told the Hattiesburg American.

As a senior, Mullens completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 3,272 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Mullens joins a quarterback group that includes starter Brian Hoyer, backup Matt Barkley and third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard.

Other reported 49ers free-agent agreements include:

--RB Matt Breida, Georgia Southern: In three seasons at Georgia Southern, Breida rushed for 3,740 yards and 37 touchdowns while averaging 6.9 yards a carry. (Tampa Bay Times)

--OL Erik Magnuson, Michigan: Magnuson (6-6, 305) was a first-team All-Big Ten performer who started every game at right tackle. He announced on Twitter that he has agreed to terms with the 49ers.

--WR Kendrick Bourne, Eastern Washington: He caught 211 passes for 3,130 yards and 27 touchdowns in his four-year career. Bourne (6-1, 203) had his best season as a senior, with 79 receptions for 1,201 yards and seven touchdowns. Eastern Washington announced Bourne’s three-year contract.

--OT Darrell Williams Jr., Western Kentucky: Williams (6-5, 315) started 41 games. He played his final two seasons at right tackle after moving from right guard. Western Kentucky announced the contract agreement with the 49ers.

--WR KD Cannon, Baylor: Cannon caught 195 passes for 3,113 and 27 touchdowns in his three-year career. He turned pro after a junior season in which he caught 87 passes for 1,215 yards and 13 touchdowns. He announced his contract agreement with the 49ers via Twitter.

--DB Lorenzo Jerome, Saint Francis (PA): Jerome, a Senior Bowl invite, was named first-team FCS All-American. He intercepted six passes in 2016 with 59 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 11 pass break-ups. He added a touchdown on a kickoff return. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

--LB Jimmie Gilbert, Colorado (Denver Post)

--OL J.P. Flynn, Montana (NEPatriotsdraft.com)

--DE Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia (NEPatriotsdraft.com)

--TE Cole Hikutini, Louisville (NFL Network)

--LB Donavin Newsom, Missouri (Columbia Daily Tribune)

--WR Victor Bolden, Oregon State (Bolden via Twitter)

Lynch: TE McDonald to return to 49ers after being on trade block

Lynch: TE McDonald to return to 49ers after being on trade block

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers explored trade options for veteran tight end Vance McDonald during the three-day draft, but he is scheduled be back with the team when the club reports Monday for the fourth week of the offseason program.

“I think that’s the reality of new regimes coming, new schemes,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Saturday at the conclusion the seven-round draft. “That’s not to say that he can’t fit into our scheme. Frankly, we received some interest from some other people, then we did explore some options throughout the league with Vance. Nothing ended up happening, so Vance will come back and have an opportunity to compete.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he called McDonald on Friday night to keep him updated on the team’s though process in pursuing trade options. McDonald was at his brother’s wedding, Shanahan said, so he left him a long voice message. McDonald responded Saturday morning with a text. Shanahan said the two men will speak on Monday in Santa Clara.

“We did take over a 2-14 team,” Shanahan said. “We don’t feel all the answers are here right now. We have a lot of work to do. We need to improve in any way possible. And we’re going to do that. We’re going to do that from an organizational standpoint. How can we improve the building? How can we improve the coaching staff? How can we improve the personnel department? How can we improve the players?

“Just from Vance’s text back, I think people understand that. I think it does make sense. I don’t think that’s something personal.”

Former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke signed off on a five-year contract extension for McDonald in December that consisted of a $7 million signing bonus. McDonald appeared in 11 games last season, catching 24 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns. The 49ers acquired McDonald as a second-round draft pick 2013. In 48 career games, McDonald has 64 receptions for 866 yards and seven touchdowns.

The 49ers signed veteran tight end Logan Paulsen in the offseason. On Saturday, the 49ers selected Iowa tight end George Kittle in the fifth round of the draft. Kittle joins fellow tight ends McDonald, Garrett Celek, Paulsen, Blake Bell and Je’Ron Hamm on the 49ers’ 90-man roster.