Matt Maiocco

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Alex Smith definitely showed progress from the opener in New Orleans, and rookie RB Kendall Hunter had an all-around outstanding game against the Raiders on Saturday. What about the rest of the 49ers' offense?

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The 49ers' defense recorded two interceptions, three sacks and surrendered just 214 yards of total offense in a 17-3 victory over the Raiders in the second exhibition game.

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Aug. 21, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Kendall Hunter's 105 yards led the 49ers' ground attack as they piled 239 rushing yards on the Raiders defense en route to a 17-3 exhibition win, Jim Harbaugh's first with San Francisco.

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With three exhibition games remaining, there's uncertainty regarding five starting positions on the 49ers. Insider Matt Maiocco looks at the jobs up for grabs, including rookie LB Aldon Smith's battle with Parys Haralson.

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The 49ers took the field Wednesday with a new quarterback in the mix; Josh McCown joined the clan under center. But what impressed Insider Matt Maiocco most from practice was a different group of newcomers.

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The 49ers signed veteran Josh McCown as a possible solution to be the team's No. 3 quarterback for the regular season. McCown was on the practice field Wednesday, wearing No. 9.

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Quarterback Alex Smith remained after practice Tuesday evening working with 49ers receiver Braylon Edwards on a pass route that hasn't been seen around these parts in some time. The slant route, a staple of West Coast offenses past, is returning to the 49ers this season under coach Jim Harbaugh.

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This weekend's matchup with the Raiders means different things for quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. Smith has a history with Candlestick fans. Kaepernick just has history to make.

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Based on his performance on the practice field the past two days, quarterback Alex Smith has widened his lead to be the 49ers' starter, coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday.

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Gore says he needed to see some live action against the Saints, and Greg Roman says the five best offensive linemen will start.

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Hasselbeck considered signing with the 49ers but ended up signing with the Titans.

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Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick? Jim Harbaugh says it is an open competition, but during 11-on-11 work Monday Alex Smith took 40 snaps with the first-team offense, while Kaepernick took just four.

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Today is the first time this summer that 49ers WR Michael Crabtree has been spotted wearing two athletic shoes -- and no orthopedic boot.

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With the 49ers reportedly poised to offer a contract to free-agent QB Daunte Culpepper, Matt Maiocco says the club won't be looking for the veteran to compete for a starting role.

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