Alex who? The 49ers will face a very familiar foe Friday in Kansas City, but players and coaches alike today said they'd treat the new Chiefs quarterback like any other preseason adversary.
"He's a nameless, faceless opponent," said offensive coordinator Greg Roman of new Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Roman had a smile on his face and then elaborated a bit. "Loved working with Alex," he continued. "I'm very happy for Alex and his success and very appreciative of all the contributions he made as a 49er."
The 49ers traded Smith, their former No. 1 overall draft pick and longtime starter, to Kansas City in the offseason for two draft picks. Like the player who took his job in San Francisco, Colin Kaepernick, Smith had a very good opening drive in his initial preseason game.
Against the Saints, he drove the Chiefs 80 yards before Jamaal Charles scored a rushing touchdown. Smith was 7-8 for 68 yards, was sacked once and had a 102.1 passer rating before heading to the sideline. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said that Smith and the other starters likely will play longer in Friday's game against the 49ers.
In two seasons with San Francisco, outside linebacker Aldon Smith never was allowed to touch Smith and the other quarterbacks in practice. What happens Friday? "Alex gets touched, right?" Aldon Smith said.
The team's outside linebacker, who got a glove on Peyton Manning Thursday for the first time in his career, downplayed the reunion with Smith. The game is a bigger deal for him, he said, because he's playing in his native Missouri and will have friends and family in the stands.
Whether they acknowledge it or not, the 49ers have a rooting interest in Smith and the Chiefs this year. They received Kansas City's second-round pick this year for Smith. They also will get a second-round pick in the 2014 draft if the Chiefs finish .500 or better. If Kansas City has a losing season, the 49ers will be compensated with a third-round pick.
The best possible scenario for the 49ers: The Chiefs finish 8-8.
-- Matt Barrows