Why Smith will continue to wear helmet on sideline

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Why Smith will continue to wear helmet on sideline

SANTA CLARA -- Be prepared to see a lot more TV shots of Alex Smith wearing his helmet on the sideline while the 49ers have the football on Sunday.This is not an indication that Smith expects to be summoned to replace Colin Kaepernick. It's what every backup quarterback does, Smith told CSNBayArea.com on Friday just prior to the team's departure to face the St. Louis Rams.
New starter Colin Kaepernick wore a helmet on the sideline when Smith was the starter. And Scott Tolzien wore a helmet when the 49ers had the ball during the one game that Smith was inactive due to a concussion.The only difference is that TV cameras can be expected to regularly show Smith on the sideline during games now that coach Jim Harbaugh announced Kaepernick as the starter. Quarterback helmets are outfitted with radio transmitters -- indicated by the green dot on the back of the helmet -- that relay the play call from the sideline into the huddle. The backup quarterback is expected to follow along as those calls are going into the game.The alternative, Smith said, would be to wear a walkie-talkie clipped to his waistband and an earpiece. But that apparatus is typically only for a quarterback who is inactive, he said. The 49ers have only one such device, and Tolzien wears it.Despite how it might look -- or what conclusions the TV announcers might draw from the appearance -- Smith said he will continue to wear a helmet on the sideline as the backup quarterback.He said it is "irresponsible" not to wear a helmet. He said if he is needed to get onto the field in a hurry to replace Kaepernick, he does not have to waste time disconnecting wires and running to get his helmet. He'll already be ready to go.

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula reportedly might be back in the NFL after a one-year hiatus.

Tomsula, who spent his first eight NFL seasons as a defensive line coach, could be returning to that job with Washington, Carol Maloney of NBC4 reported on Sunday. But according to the Washington Post, a deal is not done between the two sides.

If the deal were to happen Tomsula would be rejoining Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and general manager Scot McCloughan, both of whom he worked with while members of the 49ers organization.

Tomsula was promoted to the head-coaching job over finalist Adam Gase two years ago after the 49ers' “mututal parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh. Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in 2015. Chip Kelly was hired to replace Tomsula. Kelly was fired after the 49ers went 2-14, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.