With the San Francisco 49ers set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in their Week 2 matchup of the preseason, a lot of the focus will be on Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith. After spending his first eight seasons with the Niners, Smith was traded in the offseason to the Chiefs for draft picks.
Although Friday’s game is an exhibition, there’s no doubt it will have a different feeling for Harbaugh, Smith, and even Colin Kaepernick. All three will say there is no additional motivation than any other opponent, but we all know that’s not true.
For Smith, he will want to show the 49ers how he has improved since last season and that he can be successful in the Chiefs offense. In his first preseason game with Kansas City last week, he led the offense for an opening score drive on his only series on the field. He finished with an impressive 7-of-8 passes for 68 yards on the drive.
For Harbaugh, he will want to build on Kaepernick’s one offensive series he played in last week. And have Kaep and Anquan Boldin continue forming their on the field connection that is vital to both having a successful season. I wouldn’t doubt Harbaugh has some tricks up his sleeves for the game and that he will have Kaep play for more than one series against the Chiefs.
When asked about facing Smith this week, Harbaugh did not hold back in his praise for what Smith accomplished for the Niners and how the game will be different:
Great memories of his leadership and his play. Just the person he was. He was a guy who was universally respected by his teammates and coaches. A long list of great memories.
It’s personal with Alex, you know? It’s probably different in that way. I feel like there’s a great friendship there and a lot of history. I know the competitor that he is, he wants to win and we do as well. I’ll be able to tell you a little more maybe afterwards, but it feels different right now.
We wish him the best, a long and healthy and successful career.
Click here to see video of Harbaugh talking about facing Smith. He starts talking about his former quarterback at the 4:05 minute mark.
Smith also said in an interview on Monday the game will have a different feeling. Talking with Sirius XM NFL Radio, he said:
It’s different. Of course it’s different. I was there eight years. These are a lot of my good friends. Definitely different. But the weird thing is it’s still a preseason game. If it were a regular season game, I think we’d have a little more to talk about but this still isn’t the main focus.