49ers defense eager to face Chiefs QB Alex Smith (VIDEO)
Thursday, August 15, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Over all those years and thousands of practice snaps, the stingy San Francisco defense never got to put a hit on Alex Smith.
And this is a group known for its vicious blows, from sack man Aldon Smith at linebacker to pounding safety Donte Whitner.
So, no surprise Smith’s former teammates on the opposite side of the ball will be salivating to finally chase down the quarterback when they face him and the Chiefs in a preseason game at Kansas City on Friday night.
“There’s a first time for everything,” linebacker NaVorro Bowman said, smiling. “We never got a chance to hit him. This time we can. We’re looking forward to it. I know Alex knows we’re coming. It’s football, man. He’s on another team and we have to go out there and play our game.”
Cornerback Carlos Rogers plans to talk trash — because, he insists, Smith will certainly be expecting it from this group.
“He’ll probably come after me because we were always talking junk during practices while he was here. I’m going to take a look at the film and see what we can come up with,” Rogers said. “It will be really fun. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be talking junk. He’s going to want to go at our defense because now he gets the opportunity. When he was here we didn’t really go against the 1 offense unless it was training camp.”
Smith has begun anew in the AFC with the Chiefs after being traded in March. He lost his starting job with San Francisco in November to Colin Kaepernick.
Smith certainly sounds as if he will leave the personal ties out of it Friday — rather focusing on preparing his offense with a matchup against one of the NFL’s top defenses in recent years.
“Regardless of the fact that I used to play there, they’re a good defensive unit,” he said “They’re a really good defensive unit, and they’ll be a good test for us. I mean, they don’t have many weaknesses on that side of the ball. It’ll be a really good test for us.”
49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula insists the razzing by his defenders is all in good fun. Tomsula started Smith for the regular season finale in 2010 in Tomsula’s lone game as interim head coach following the firing of Mike Singletary.
“They’re throwing that out there. That’s an inside joke to Alex,” Tomsula said. “They all just like him so much, they really do. It’s a good banter, is what it is.”
Given Smith’s long history with the 49ers, an up-and-down, eight-year tenure — filled with numerous promotions and demotions, not to mention injuries — after they selected him with the No. 1 draft pick out of Utah in 2005, he still has many supporters in his old locker room.
Running back Frank Gore is rooting for him, tight end Vernon Davis, too. And Kaepernick, of course.
“He did a lot for me, Alex was someone that really helped me pick up the playbook, understand what we were trying to get done and how we wanted to do it,” Kaepernick said Wednesday. “I wouldn’t be as far along as I am right now without him. Personally, he’s a great guy, he’s a class act. I have nothing bad to say about him. He’s always helped me, he’s always put the team first.”
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