49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 1, 2012
Captain Smith: 49ers elect team captains

AlexVernon.jpg

According to the official 49ers Constitution, the team's captaincy comes with a two-year term. So when players today voted for a pair of Smiths - Justin and Alex - as team captains, those two joined the team captains from last season, Frank Gore and Patrick Willis.

So, does that mean Willis and Gore can't be captains next year? "It's like the President of the United State," Jim Harbaugh said. "They'd have to be reelected."

The election of Alex Smith is significant in that this is the first time teammates have voted for him for that role. Yes, he was a team captain in 2010. But Mike Singletary assigned the captains that year. It was not a democratic election.

"I didn't name him a captain because he was the quarterback," said Singletary at the time. "I named him a captain because he exemplified this offseason the things that I want our captains to do." Later that year, of course, Singletary was seen shouting at Smith on the sideline during a nationally televised game against the Eagles and nearly pulled Smith from the contest.

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Harbaugh would not go into why Scott Tolzien beat out Josh Johnson for the No. 3 quarterback job, only that it was not an easy decision. "There was a lot of thought that went into it," Harbaugh said. "I think about the quarterback position in some form or fashion every day. I'm not going to get into comparing the two of them. It seems like somebody always gets diminished when you do that."

"I can't tell you how close it was. It was a dead heat, both those players made a great argument for both of them to help our team win on any given Sunday. It was close in the beginning, it remained close all the way through and it was a tough decision. Both played extremely well."

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The 49ers acknowledged that they gambled last season by carrying only three outside linebackers on their active roster. Injuries to two of their draft picks, however, mean that the numbers will be the same this year.

But now they have Demarcus Dobbs as a fallback. Harbaugh said it's possible that Dobbs - he already plays defensive end, tight end and on special teams - could get some action at outside linebacker this year. Dobbs, for his part, said it's been discussed since the beginning of the offseason.

He played the position on third downs in the preseason, and said it fits his new persona. "I tell them I'm a mutt," Dobbs said when people asked what position he plays. "I play all types of things, I'm all types of breeds."

As far as his leg injury, the defensive end/tight end/outside linebacker said he plans to be full-go in practice next week and is confident he'll be ready for the opener Sept. 9. "Very confident, he said. "Not a doubt."

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Anthony Dixon said he had no doubts during the final cuts on Friday. "I knew I put in the work," the running back said. "It was like, let the chips fall where they may."

Dixon said there was no turning point this offseason. Instead, he said he finally learned how to be consistent.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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