There's a subtle but important distinction here.
It's understandable that general manager John Idzik wants his second-round investment in Smith to pay off.
The problem? There are two quarterbacks that are lead-pipe locks to become lightning rods if they open the season on the bench: Vick and Johnny Manziel.
At the first sign of a Smith slump he will be looking over his shoulder at Vick, enveloped by the dissonant cacophony of catcalls from the home "faithful."
Here's what else we learned in Thursday's OTAs:
- Among the marquee names steering clear of offseason practices in hopes of landing a more lucrative contract: Vernon Davis. The 49ers tight end is due $5.1 million and $4.95 million over the next two seasons under the terms of the six-year, $42.7 million contract he signed in 2010. Coach Jim Harbaughshrugged off Davis' absence, citing the voluntary nature of the workouts.
- Freshly signed first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix won't be handed a starting job in the Packers' secondary. The rookie worked with the second group Thursday, while Making The Leap candidate Micah Hyde handled first-team reps alongside Morgan Burnett. McCarthy reiterated his intention to give Hyde every opportunity to be a three-down player in 2014.