Gannon says it’s ‘underestimated’ what Smith’s gone through

The CBS announcing crew of Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon was out at 49ers practice today. Gannon held court with reporters, offering his insights in Jimmy Raye and Alex Smith.



Gannon spent four seasons in Kansas City with Raye on staff, and another year with the Raiders. Here are some of his observations:


–He said the fact that Smith has had five offensive coordinators in five years is “dysfunction.” He likened it to his own career. He had been in the league for 17 years and when he opened the season in 2004 against the Steelers with a new Raiders offensive system, he said he was “scared to death.”


“It’s underestimated what he’s gone through,” Gannon said of Smith. “Honestly, it’s hard. I’m really pulling for him. I know what he’s been through.”


–For Jimmy Raye, it’s a difficult challenge because his focus is not only on what he can do as a coordinator but figuring out what the players can handle. After all, the 49ers have changed quarterbacks, gotten a new wide receiver and lost a stating left tackle in the span of two games.


Gannon says an offensive coordinator looks at the game through the quarterback’s eyes. That quarterback has changed in recent weeks. And while subtle changes must be made, he also does not want to “overload” Smith, who hasn’t played much since 2006 and new receiver Michael Crabtree.


–Gannon said he believes it takes two offseasons for an offensive coordinator to get things the way he wants, and to figure out who they are as a team.


–Smith’s future with the 49ers probably hinges on the remainder of this season. “The next eight weeks are critical for them to find out who he is and what he’s capable of,” Gannon said.


–Gannon said he looks at Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers and thinks about how similar their paths would’ve been if their situations had been reversed. Rodgers has maintained some continuity with Mike McCarthy as coach. He also had an opportunity to learn behind Brett Favre before he was given his opportunity.


–Gannon was a roommate of 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky during their time together with the Chiefs. Gannon said Manusky, primarily a special-teams player, was always well-prepared. There was a game in which a starter came into the locker room two hours before kickoff and said he couldn’t play. Manusky played middle linebacker and ended up with 18 tackles.


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Coach Mike Singletary said safety Reggie Smith will be a game-time decision on Sunday. He has not played since Sept. 27 when he sustained a severe groin strain.


Linebacker Takeo Spikes (shoulder) returned to practice and will play.


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Shaun Hill was the scout team quarterback. His scrambling skills left a lot to be desired, but Singletary said the defense was made aware throughout the week of Vince Young’s ability to hurt the 49ers outside the pocket.


Speaking of the scout team, Singletary singled out the efforts of Diyral Briggs (defense), Cody Wallace (offense) and Jason Hill (special teams) for the looks they gave the 49ers’ starters during the week.


He mentions scout team players every week when the team convenes on the field at the end of the Friday practice. He said he does that to show the scout-team players how much he appreciates the effort with which they practice.


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Offensive tackle Alex Boone is still on the practice squad. The 49ers have not made a move to call him up to the 53-man roster. Singletary said he is pleased with Boone’s progress, and he talks to offensive line coach Chris Foerster regularly about Boone’s progress. “He’s doing a good job.” Singletary said.


Boone was signed as an undrafted free agent. During the exhibition season, Boone looked to be doing well in the run game, but had difficulty at right tackle against NFL pass rushers.


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49ERS – CB Nate Clements (shoulder), DE Demetric Evans (shoulder), T Joe Staley (knee) are out; S Reggie Smith (groin) and LB Takeo Spikes (shoulder) are probable.


TITANS – RB Javon Ringer (back) is out; S Vincent Fuller (groin), CB Nicholas Harper (forearm), DE Jevon Kearse (knee), T Mike Otto (knee), T David Stewart (hamstring) and LB David Thornton (hip) are questionable.


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