Alex Smith threw short. Alex Smith threw deep. Alex Smith made it through a full practice Wednesday and it looks like he'll be the starter Sunday against the Saints. Mike Nolan and the 49ers haven't quite committed to that and likely will list Smith as probable later in the week. If he didn't start, Trent Dilfer would lead the 49ers' offense for the third straight week. Smith said he was more confident than he was at this point last week. "As the day went on, my arm felt better and better. And I think it will only feel better tomorrow. It did feel good."
Smith's right shoulder isn't the only thing he's worried about. The San Diego native has been on the phone with family members who are scrambling to deal with wild fires in the region. He said his older sister and her husband had to evacuate their home and that his parents are on voluntary evacuation. Smith's mother, Pam, is the deputy director of health and human services for San Diego county and has been working through the night on fire-related issues. "It's been strange to think what can happen and how out of control things are," Alex Smith said. "It's a little scary in that sense, kind of getting your mind going as far as what could happen. They're doing well."
The role of Reggie Bush this week has gone to return man Michael Lewis. It's only fitting. Lewis is one of the few players on the 49ers' roster who can approximate Bush's quickness. And of course, Lewis is quite familiar with Bush having played alongside him last year.
-- Matt Barrows