Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/16/13
It would have been only too easy, in the wake of a devastating demotion during a promising season, for Alex Smith to give up on a San Francisco 49ers team led by Colin Kaepernick, his former backup, to finish up the season.But that's not Alex Smith - not the "49er Way."Instead of holding grudges against anybody within the organization, Smith helped young Kaepernick learn the nuances of reading NFL defenses, understanding the playbook, and how to prepare for each game.Smith was an instrumental coach for Kaepernick during the tail end of the 49ers' season, including their incredible Super Bowl run coming fingertips away from a championship ring.When the offseason came, Alex Smith was shipped to the Kansas City Chiefs for a second round pick in 2013, along with a conditional pick in 2014, leaving Kaepernick to lead San Francisco into the 2013 season without his mentor.Now, neither of them are looking back to last season. They are focused on their teams and winning every ball game in front of them. However, other than this being an exciting preseason matchup to draw the fans interest, the outcome of this game is quite meaningless. It should be a nice reunion for Alex Smith and his former teammates.Game Time: Friday, August 16th - 5:00 p.m. PTWhat To Expect: Just like in San Francisco, the culture in Kansas City is shifting under new management, head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey, and the team is buying into it. Even though it's preseason, everyone is going to be focused on the score after the first quarter when the starters are most likely to come out.With Jamaal Charles potentially out for the game for precautionary measures, it could be interesting to see Alex Smith as the centerpiece. Charles touched the ball the majority of the snaps in the Chiefs' preseason opener on their first offensive drive and rightfully so. He will be the workhorse for Kansas City this season in the running and passing attacks, but Smith will benefit from some time without his feature back.Against a 49ers defense that is so powerful up front, it would be tough for the Chiefs to get much of a running game going (especially if Charles does not play), so expect the Chiefs to go for some deep balls against a questionable San Francisco secondary led by cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety Donte Whitner.San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio loves to bring outside pressure and linebacker Aldon Smith is looking to sack his friend Alex Smith for the first time in his short, promising career. The 49ers' Pro Bowl pass rusher will be the ultimate test for the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, right tackle Eric Fisher, coming off of a strong performance against the Saints.Colin Kaepernick will be looking to make plays as always. His running game shouldn't explode with Chiefs' pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston looking to keep him in the pocket.Kaepernick will have to use his arm and his decision-making.San Francisco is hoping for another receiving threat to emerge other than tight end Vernon Davis (who as been lining up at wide receiver in camp) because newly acquired receiver Anquan Boldin cannot carry the load alone.Special teams has been a great weapon for San Francisco, but has hindered them in the postseason the last two years -- like Kyle Williams' two fumbled punt returns against the Giants in the 2011 NFC Championship, or allowing Jacoby Jones of the Ravens to return a kickoff for a touchdown in the 2012 Super Bowl last season.The Chiefs have been focusing much more on special teams this offseason.Against the Saints, Dexter McCluster returned a punt for 55 yards and rookie Kniles Davis had a 79-yard kickoff return.Both of these teams have talent, great coaching, and hard-working players, so it will be fun to see how this preseason duel shakes out.The 49ers and Chiefs will be two fun-to-watch teams in 2013.
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