49ers notes: Defense will be full-go against a familiar face

Published: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 - 6:49 am

SANTA CLARA – Alex who?

The 49ers will face a very familiar foe Friday in Kansas City, Mo., but players and coaches alike Sunday said they'd treat the new Chiefs quarterback like any other preseason adversary.

"He's a nameless, faceless opponent," said offensive coordinator Greg Roman of new Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Roman had a smile on his face and then elaborated a bit. "Loved working with Alex," he continued. "I'm very happy for Alex and his success and very appreciative of all the contributions he made as a 49er."

The 49ers traded Smith, their former No. 1 overall draft pick and longtime starter, to Kansas City in the offseason for two draft picks. Like the player who took his job in San Francisco, Colin Kaepernick, Smith had a good opening drive in his initial preseason game.

Against the New Orleans Saints, he drove the Chiefs 80 yards before Jamaal Charles scored a rushing touchdown. Smith was 7 of 8 for 68 yards, was sacked once and had a 102.1 passer rating before heading to the sideline. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said that Smith and the other starters likely will play longer in Friday's game against the 49ers.

In two seasons with San Francisco, outside linebacker Aldon Smith never was allowed to touch Smith and the other quarterbacks in practice. What happens Friday? "Alex gets touched, right?" Aldon Smith said.

The team's outside linebacker, who got a glove on Peyton Manning on Thursday for the first time in his career, downplayed the reunion with Smith. The game is a bigger deal for him, he said, because he's playing in his native Missouri and will have friends and family in the stands.

Still, the 49ers have a rooting interest in Smith and the Chiefs.

They received Kansas City's second-round pick this year for Smith. They also will get a second-round pick in the 2014 draft if the Chiefs finish .500 or better. If they have a losing season, the 49ers will be compensated with a third-round pick.

More Collie coming – Coach Jim Harbaugh said he expected a bigger practice workload this week for his two new receivers, Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins. Both were signed on Aug. 2 and have been worked into the ends of practices and the end of Thursday's preseason game. Neither has received any extensive work with Kaepernick to this point.

"I think they will this week, yes," Harbaugh said of increased work. "Pleased with what they're doing, definitely. They're studying hard, working hard to get out there and champing at the bit to be out there."

Getting every receiver quality snaps, however, will be difficult with 11 wideouts on the active roster.

One of them, rookie Quinton Patton, remains in a blue, non-contact jersey due to a broken finger. But Patton seems poised to rejoin practice in full soon. He's been instructed not to catch passes with the injured hand but made several – including on a deep pattern – in the last two practices.

Collie, meanwhile, still is being advised not to go full bore in practice. He is coming off a torn patellar tendon that cost him the 2012 season.

Collie has looked smooth in recent sessions and has reported no problems. But the 49ers remain wary of him going at top speed.

"I think coming off of serious leg injuries, you've got to be conscious of not bursting and not hitting that top gear just yet," Harbaugh said. "So it's a progression."

Injuries – First-round draft pick Eric Reid was back at practice after missing most of Saturday's session with what appeared to be a lower back injury. Starters Joe Staley and Tarell Brown remained out with minor injuries. Rookie tight end Vance McDonald also was held out of practice.

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

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