If there’s any question of a lingering quarterback controversy at 49ers training camp, Jim Harbaugh may have quieted those concerns on Tuesday when he called Alex Smith’s performance his best of training camp.
And to further emphasize his pleasure with Smith’s play, the 49ers head coach also said the veteran quarterback has distanced himself from rookie Colin Kaepernick.
“Alex is coming along very well,” Harbaugh said. “I thought today he had an outstanding practice. I thought yesterday was really good and the day before that, and this was probably his best.”
The coach’s opinions were easily validated when Smith had a perfect throwing period to start the day against the 49ers second-team defense. In fact, both signal callers began the day strong. Only one of Kaepernick’s throws touched the ground in the period.
But later in practice, Kaepernick cooled off while Smith continued to connect with a number of targets.
“If you were going by today, yesterday, there’s some separation there,” Harbaugh revealed. “Alex has done a fine job, but like I said, Kap is doing a phenomenal job. He is one heck of a talent, one heck of a player.”
Harbaugh believes his first-team quarterback has progressed throughout camp, especially now that he’s had considerable practice reps under his belt.
“Alex had missed the first seven or eight practices and this was only practice No. 15, so he’s only had about eight practices,” Harbaugh detailed. “I can really go back to the last three, four, five practices and he’s just solid and getting better.”
Smith agreed. He realizes he’s more comfortable in practice and has been able to get into a rhythm with his receivers.
“I felt better the last few days, kind of getting back in the groove of things,” Smith said. “I’m throwing it well, seeing things well, but there’s still a lot left ahead of me.”
Smith said he’s been too focused on his own play to notice if there’s such a margin between he and Kaepernick. What matters most to the former No. 1 overall pick are the relationships being developed with his offensive teammates.
“I feel great about how the offense is set up, how we install, how we watch film,” Smith said. “We’re together… There’s really one voice.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh
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