8/4 Practice notes: Smith vs. Kaepernick


Practice was windy and cold in the Santa Clara dusk.

Braylon Edwards lined up with the first and second-team offense today and looked good, considering he’d been on the team for about an hour. He caught a few short passes and hustled hard.

Madieu Williams stood behind the defense with secondary coach Ed Donatell and took mental reps. Donatell seemed to be talking Williams through the plays.

Carlos Rogers lined up with the second team defense and looked good, and Taylor Mays lined up with the third-team defense and did nothing of note.

Now onto the quarterbacks.

Jim Harbaugh described both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick’s performances as “good.” He refused to say any more about them.

That’s fine. I’ll break their days down for you. Here is the good and the not-so-good from today’s quarterback competition.


Smith in the red zone: Tramaine Block picked off Smith’s first red-zone pass, but after that Smith was perfect, completing his next ten passes, four for touchdowns. His footwork on his drops was crisp, he went through his progressions with confidence, and he found the open receivers. He looked like a veteran who knew the offense.

Kaepernick in throwing drills: He clearly has the superior arm. He leads receivers better on slants than Smith, he gets the ball to the sideline quicker on out routes, and he throws a better deep ball.


Smith throwing long: Maybe it was the wind, but Smith struggled throwing the ball downfield today. When he muscled up, the ball fluttered out of his hand and missed the target. On one play Smith tried to go long to Vernon Davis but he under threw him and Curtis Taylor easily made the interception.

Kaepernick against the defense: Unlike Smith, Kaepernick did not look comfortable in the pocket. He held onto the ball too long, and he threw a lot of balls away. He looked like a rookie who’s not ready to play on Sundays. To be fair, at the end of practice he threw two beautiful 25-yard touchdown passes in a row to the back right-corner of the end zone. Konrad Reuland caught the first, and Josh Morgan caught the second.


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