Alex Smith has a new view this season -- literally


Alex Smith has a new view this season -- literally

SANTA CLARA -- Alex Smith has a new view on the quarterback position from his first six years in the NFL.Literally.And he has a much better grip than earlier in his career, too.Smith's view on the field is more unobstructed that previous seasons -- dating back to his college days at Utah, when he wanted a little more face protection because of the volume of hits he absorbed. Now, he has one fewer horizontal bar on his facemask.

In the past, the top bar on his facemask came up to the bridge of his nose:2010

Now, the top bar runs lower just below the tip of his nose:2011

"I've been thinking about changing it for a while," Smith told of the new facemask he debuted at the beginning of training camp. "It's a visibility thing. That goes back to college. I wore it in college because I ran so much. I just stuck with it. I've been thinking about changing it for a few years now and I finally did it."Has it helped?"There are less bars," Smith said. "It's different. I notice the difference. I have less stuff in my face and my eyes."
RELATED: Alex Smith 2011 game logs Alex Smith career stats
Remember the early days of Smith's career when his hand size was being scrutinized because the ball would often slip out of his grasp like a wet bar of soap?Back in those days, the NFL rules allowed for the home team to provide the footballs for both teams. So Smith would show up for road games anxious to find out what kind of footballs awaited him.From that time in his career, Smith developed a habit that remains as part of his game-day routine.Every time there's a timeout or a change of possession, Smith is thrown a football near the sideline that he maintains in his hands until he tosses it aside to begin the next 49ers offensive possession."It goes back to what the NFL rules were when I first got into the league, when you didn't get to travel with your own footballs," Smith said. "So whoever was the opponent that week, the balls could be brand new. So I got into the habit of whatever the type of ball was, I'd get that type of ball on the sideline so I had it."Whatever I felt the ball was like from the first series, I'd go get a ball that was similar to it and just have it there with me. You'd never know. You'd practice all week with broken-in balls -- ones that were worn in -- and then the day of the game you'd be playing in St. Louis and it would be a ball right out of the box. Those were the balls they supplied."Now, each team is allowed to supply footballs for their own offense. During the week, the 49ers rub the sheen off new footballs with a mud similar to what Major League umpires use to get baseballs ready for game action."Our QB balls are similar to the game balls, so that's what I grab now," Smith said.Smith lost 13 fumbles in his first 30 NFL starts. In his past 36 starts, Smith has turned the ball over just five times on fumbles.Smith posted career-best numbers in helping the 49ers win the NFC West with a 13-3 record. He is the main reason the 49ers tied an NFL record for fewest turnovers (10) in the regular season. His vision and feel for the game coincidence or not -- are two of the main reasons behind the turnaround.

Fans raise funds to fly anti-Baalke banner before 49ers game

Fans raise funds to fly anti-Baalke banner before 49ers game

San Francisco 49ers fans came together last season and raised money to fly an anti-Jed York banner over Levi's Stadium on three separate occasions. With the team 1-6 this year, there is a new push for a banner calling out a different member of the team’s front office. 

[REWIND: Banner flies over Levi’s calling for 49ers, York to mutually part ways]

On Monday a crowdfunding campaign was created with the goal of raising $1,076 by Oct. 28 in order to fly a banner that reads “49ers: Fire Trent Baalke” over Levi's Stadium on Nov. 6 before the team’s game against the New Orleans Saints. The fundraising goal was fulfilled in 11 hours by 58 people as it reached $1,095. 

The campaign proceeds are promised to Aerial Services of Livermore, which charges $1,024 for two hours of airtime, according to the post, and, which takes five percent of all funds raised -- $51.20.

The three banners that flew over Levi’s last season read “Jed York And 49ers Should Mutually Part Ways," "Hold Jed Accountable," and "Jed Here's Our Banner -- Where's Yours?"

Source: 49ers not shopping WR Torrey Smith

Source: 49ers not shopping WR Torrey Smith

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith is the subject of trade discussions, according to multiple reports.

The 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles have discussed a trade involving Smith, but a deal is not imminent, reports Pro Football Talk. ESPN reported that the 49ers are open to trading Smith and multiple teams have shown interest. The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 1.

A league source told the 49ers are neither shopping Smith nor is a trade anticipated.

Coach Chip Kelly on Monday denied a report from PFT that left tackle Joe Staley was on the trade block. He was not asked about Smith’s status with the team.

“I understand how it comes up because we’re 1-6 and Joe is a veteran player, but it doesn’t matter where you are that’s going to be speculation no matter what team you are and where you are, who are your older players,” Kelly said about the Staley report. “It’s kind of the nature of the sport we play.”

Smith is the 49ers’ third-leading receiver with 13 receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, Smith caught just 33 passes for 663 yards with four touchdowns in his first season with the club.

The 49ers last year signed Smith to a five-year, $40 million contract. He is signed through the 2019 season with scheduled base salaries of $6.5 million, along with roster and workout bonuses totaling $1.5 million in each of those seasons.