SANTA CLARA (KCBS) – 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Alex Smith has had two good practices this week and his distanced himself from Colin Kaepernick in the competition for starting quarterback.

“Sometimes you have to grab at straws,” John Madden told the KCBS morning crew. “Part of it is to sell yourself on it, part of it is to sell the player on it and part of it is to sell the teammates. You try to create a positive atmosphere.”

Madden said Smith needs a boost of confidence as the 49ers prepare for an exhibition game against the Raiders Saturday on CBS 5.

“To be honest, things around Alex Smith are pretty negative… I think maybe he (Harbaugh) just wanted to inject some positive stuff and that was his way of doing it. And that’s not bad,” said the former coach.

At the same time, Madden said, Harbaugh’s search for help at the QB position should continue.

“I believe, and I’m sure he believes, that he better keep looking.” (8:30)

(Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.)

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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