Alex Smith didn’t speak to reporters on Saturday, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman gave a pretty good indication of how the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is progressing six days removed from his second concussions in as many seasons.
“He’s looked good,” Roman said. “He’s looked very sharp.”
Officially, Smith is listed as questionable for Monday night’s pivotal NFC showdown with the Chicago Bears. Roman said his quarterback will need to pass one more contact test in order to play on Monday night.
“Alex is going through the protocol right now and that’s in the doctor’s hands,” Roman said.
Chicago, on the other hand, has already ruled out quarterback Jay Cutler. And while the Bears quarterback didn’t take part in any practices this week, Smith continues to practice for the 49ers in a limited fashion. Though Smith’s status still up in the air, Roman has been trying to do his best to get backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick the necessary first-team reps to be ready if Smith can’t play.
No matter who plays quarterback for the 49ers, the objective remains the same.
“We’re trying to do our best,” said left tackle Joe Staley, who will match up with Bears defensive end Julius Peppers for the first time since his rookie season when the Pro Bowler played for Carolina. “No matter who the quarterback is, our job is to create a clean pocket for them.”
The 49ers offensive coordinator said it hadn’t been determined if third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien will be active for only the second time this season. Roman, however, did not that he typically gets together with his backup quarterbacks prior to gameday to discuss their comfort level with various plays within the week’s gameplan.
Roman is doing his best to roll with the punches. He doesn’t know which quarterback will play on Monday, but is keeping a good attitude about it.
“Makes it exciting,” he said. “I’m excited no matter who plays.”
Part of Roman’s enthusiasm comes from understanding the challenge of facing Monday night’s opponent, a ball-hungry Chicago defense that is as disciplined as it is opportunistic.
“It’s not just a team giving the ball away,” Roman said. “They’re taking it.”
Roman has given his players tons of visual evidence of the variety of strips the Bears defense has utilized in the previous 10 weeks of the season. When discussing NFL forced-fumble leader Charles Tillman, Chicago’s Pro Bowl cornerback, Roman said, “I’ve never seen anybody do it better.”
Now, it’s up to the 49ers to a better job than anyone else at protecting the football against a hungry opponent on a national stage.
Tags: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Greg Roman, Joe Staley, Scott Tolzien
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