Matt Maiocco

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Matt Maiocco's player-by-player reviews are not for the football faint of heart. If you want the best analysis of each individual defensive player on the 49ers' roster, our Insider is the only man for the job.

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The 49ers can afford to get off to a slow start and still win the weakest division in football. With five of their final seven games inside the division, Jim Harbaugh has plenty of time to get things straightened out.

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The offense sputtered and special teams were a disaster. But the 49ers' defense played relatively well in the exhibition opener Friday night against the New Orleans Saints.

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Quarterback Alex Smith completed just two of seven pass attempts in a less-than-sterling exhibition debut Friday night against the New Orleans Saints. He was also sacked twice.

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After a scoreless third quarter, the New Orleans Saints held onto a 17-3 lead against the 49ers in the exhibition opener for both teams.

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Anything that happens in the 49ers' exhibition opener Friday night against the New Orleans Saints will merely be an addendum to what Harbaugh and his staff have already seen, he said.

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Rookie CB Chris Culliver is expected to see a lot of action at right cornerback Friday night in the 49ers' exhibition opener against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome.

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Braylon Edwards and Michael Crabtree have not stepped into a huddle together as teammates and may not do so for a month. But when the wait is over, Edwards said the offense will feature two similar threats.

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During his two weeks on the open market, free agency equaled frustration for safety Dashon Goldson.Now, the veteran safety says he's back where he belongs.

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Jim Harbaugh is pleased with how Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick have picked things up, and isn't surprised because they are 'bright guys.'

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Safety Reggie Smith sat out most of Saturday's 49ers practice with an undisclosed injury, and his future is clouded after a message he posted Sunday on Twitter.

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It's been a back-and-forth offseason for 49ers safety Dashon Goldson, who will re-sign with the team on a one-year deal after it seemed his tenure manning centerfield at Candlestick was over.

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Which rookies are standing out? Is Jeremiah Masoili a legitimate option at quarterback? How has Alex Smith looked at practice? You asked, and our 49ers Insider answers. Dive into the mailbag!

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Believe it or not, participating in his first practice with full pads, Alex Smith received a warm reception from fans at 49ers training camp on Friday. Will they feel the same when he throws his first interception?

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Former 49ers Pro Bowl cornerback Eric Davis, who is the 49ers' radio analyst and co-hosts a daily talk show on 95.7-FM "The Game," said he does not see Taylor Mays as a starting safety.

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