On Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith was cleared for practice after sustaining a concussion last week. He was on the practice field, but for non-contact drills only.
Smith threw passes on Wednesday but a big test for him to start will be practicing with some sort of contact. Backup QB Colin Kaepernick did not take increased reps at practice, which is another sign that Smith will likely start against the Bears.
The play by Kaepernick against the Rams last Sunday showed he can be an efficient and effective quarterback for the 49ers. He provides a jolt to the offense that Smith can’t match with his speed and strong arm. However, he is still developing and learning how to play quarterback in the NFL.
Kaepernick threw for 117 yards, rushed for 66 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown last week, but he also overthrew open receivers and fumbled twice. His two fumbles were recovered by the 49ers, but one was on an under center snap he botched, and the other was the result of him holding onto the football too long. If Smith is cleared and healthy enough to play, he should be the starter.
Here is a portion of an interview the Niner Insider Blog conducted with Alex Smith after practice on Wednesday:
How are you feeling?
AS: I feel good. Better.
What’s your status?
AS: Just going along with the process right now. Nothing’s been decided. This is a whole long process of stuff. It’s up to the doctors. Just kind of doing what they tell me and moving along.
You’ve obviously been cleared for on-field activity. What allowed you to get on field today?
AS: They have certain tests, you go meet with the neurologists. The IMPACT Test, stuff like that. Depending on how you do and symptoms, the next step is obviously physical activity.
What’s an IMPACT test?
AS: That’s our baseline test we take.
Have you multiple seen multiple neurologists?
AS: No, I only saw the neurologist up here at Stanford.
Were able to take part in everything today at practice?
AS: Yeah. Contact is kind of like the final straw, but, yeah, I was able to go out there today. I had the black jersey on me, which is a little redundant seeing as how (quarterbacks) don’t get hit in practice. But, yeah, felt good out there.
What do you feel (Sunday)? How did you know you took a pretty good hit?
AS: It’s tough to describe. For me, the vision was the biggest thing for sure. I’ve taken a lot of hits over the years, to try to play quarterback all of a sudden when your vision’s not what it should be was difficult. And then, for me, ultimately it didn’t get better. It wasn’t one of these things I could blink off and my focus was returning. In fact, I went along the sideline and sat down and just continued to get worse. So, it wasn’t getting better. Ultimately, I didn’t feel like it was good for me, or more importantly, it wasn’t good for the team for me to go out there. I didn’t feel like I could help us much.