49ers notes: QB rotation of Smith, Kaepernick, Smith

49ers notes: QB rotation of Smith, Kaepernick, Smith

Aug. 25, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith will start the 49ers' third exhibition game Saturday night against the Houston Texans, coach Jim Harbaugh said.Colin Kaepernick will get into the game as early as the 49ers' third offensive possession. And, then, Smith might return the favor and replace Kaepernick.Harbaugh is taking a non-traditional approach to the third exhibition game, which is typically the closest thing to a dress rehearsal to the regular season. Instead, Harbaugh said he will likely use the opportunity to get many of the team's top reserves ready for the regular season."The reason for that is for those guys fighting for their football life, we want them to have the ability to play in the game," Harbaugh said. "But, also, see them against other starters, against the Texans' starters."RELATED: 49ers camp report (824): My two left feet
Kaepernick is the 49ers' backup quarterback. Harbaugh said he wants the rookie to get experience against a starting NFL defense, just in case he is needed at some point during the regular season."Just looking forward to what's going to happen during the season," Harbaugh said, "I'd rather have Colin ready and experience football with the starters, against the starters and National Football League savvy before we have to get to that point."After Smith leaves the game, he might return to action to brush up on some "situational football," Harbaugh said."You want to get your starters into as many situations as possible," Harbaugh said. "He might return for a two-minute drill or another series."Harbaugh said he would like to get veteran third-string quarterback Josh McCown some action in Saturday's game, too.
Receiver Michael Crabtree has yet to be removed from the physically-unable-to-perform list after reporting to training camp with a left foot injury. But the 49ers expect major contributions out of him during the regular season.Behind the scenes, Crabtree is rehabbing his foot and being an active member of group discussions, Harbaugh said."He's been outstanding with his participation in the meetings," Harbaugh said. "His understanding and knowledge of what we're trying to do is very good." Crabtree and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (hamstring) are two starters from a year ago who are nursing injuries. Harbaugh was asked if Crabtree and Spencers were "assumed starters.""No, I wouldn't say that," Harbaugh said. "Football players get better by practicing football. That's what we go by. Who's practicing better? Who's playing better in games? Who's playing well?"49ers Mailbag: What Crabtree can learn from Edwards
And without having any practice time this summer to evaluate, Harbaugh said the coaching staff must go back and look at last season's game films."There's a level that you can evaluate there: poor, medium, outstanding, so you can predict how they will fit in once they're healthy," Harbaugh said. Receiver Dominique Zeigler could see his first playing time of the exhibition season after he was removed from the PUP list this week. Zeigler is returning from a torn left ACL that he sustained Dec. 16 against San Diego."He's surprised me with what he can do so quickly after re-engaging on the practice field," Harbaugh said.Zeigler is one of 11 healthy receivers battling for a spot on the roster. Undrafted rookie Chris Hogan also returned this week from an ankle sprain.

Ex-49ers RB Frank Gore moves to No. 8 on all-time list

Ex-49ers RB Frank Gore moves to No. 8 on all-time list

Frank Gore continues to move up the list of the top rushers in NFL history.

Gore, the 49ers’ all-time leading ground-gainer, picked up 79 yards on 20 rushing attempts Monday night in the Indianapolis Colts’ 41-10 victory over the New York Jets.

Gore moved past Tony Dorsett and into eighth place on the NFL’s all-time list with 12,789 yards. Next up is Eric Dickerson at No. 7 with 13,259 yards.

The only retired player in the top 11 all-time rushers who is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is LaDainian Tomlinson. He is eligible for the induction for the first time in 2017. The only other running back in the top 15 who is not in the Hall of Fame is Edgerrin James at No. 12.

In 10 seasons with the 49ers, Gore gained a club-record 11,073 yards. In 28 games with the Colts, Gore has 1,716 yards.

After coming up just 33 yards short of the 1,000-yard mark in his first year in Indianapolis, Gore needs 251 yards in the final four games for the ninth 1,000-yard season of his 12-year career.

Seahawks lose All-Pro S Earl Thomas for season

Seahawks lose All-Pro S Earl Thomas for season

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks will be without safety Earl Thomas for the rest of the season due to his broken lower left leg, no matter how far the team advances in the playoffs.

Coach Pete Carroll said Monday that further examination determined Thomas' fractured left tibia will require a recovery time that does not allow for the possibility of a return during the 2016 season. Carroll said after Sunday's 40-7 win over Carolina that Thomas' injury usually takes a minimum of six weeks of recovery time.

It's the first major injury of Thomas' career. He played 106 straight games before missing Seattle's loss at Tampa Bay last week with a hamstring injury. He quickly recovered to play against the Panthers, but was hurt in a second-quarter collision with teammate Kam Chancellor going for an interception.