From stalwart in the locker room to spectator on the practice field lately,
Smith, who has been wearing a wrap over a finger on his right hand, is unlikely to play in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Denver Broncos. He is likely to be seen on the sideline, speaking into the ear of his younger teammates, nose tackle
“They’re going out there trying to earn a job,” Smith said of the twentysomethings. “It’s a stressful time a little bit. The main part is to let them focus and do what they do. They don’t need a lot of input.”
Still, Smith, a 13-year NFL veteran entering his sixth season with the 49ers, is in a position to give advice. He did say that Williams, Dobbs and Tukuafu would all benefit from lining up opposite Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who is sure to give San Francisco’s defense plenty to think about – and plenty of time to think about it at the line of scrimmage.
Also catching Smith’s attention in training camp is the return of outside linebacker
“Parys is a heckuva football player,” Smith said. “Anytime you have a guy like that on the bench – he could be starting on a lot of teams – it just adds to the depth. Really good teams have really good depth, and you got to because the season is long and injuries happen. We could have used him last year, but that’s the way it goes.”
Haralson will be seeing his first action since suffering the injury a year ago against the very same Broncos.