The third preseason game is always a big deal in the NFL because it’s the time when teams send out their starters well into the third quarter. It’s basically the dress rehearsal for week 1.
For the 49ers, that means opening things up with Alex Smith:
If you look around the NFL, you see coaches allowing the top quarterbacks in the league to play more than 30 snaps and attempting more than 20 passes in the next-to-last exhibition games.
In the first two tuneups, Alex Smith attempted a total of 22 passes. He should double that tonight. The 49ers need him, more than any player on the team’s roster, to get ready for the regular season.
With Michael Crabtree and Brian Westbrook in the lineup tonight, expect the 49ers passing attack to be a bit more wide-open.