In order to beat the Saints Sunday, the 49ers’ worst-in-the-league offense will need to put up plenty of points.
New Orleans is the NFL’s second-best offense, averaging 415 yards and 28.7 points per game. The 49ers are limping along at 290 yards and 20.6 points per game.
So, San Francisco will need all its offensive weapons, including wide receiver Torrey Smith. Though Smith, the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, has largely been a forgotten man this season – he has just 13 catches – he’s still a deep-threat option who can stretch a defense.
Yet for a while, it appeared Smith may not be in a 49ers uniform for Sunday’s game.
San Francisco, at 1-6, is about to enter a rebuilding phase, and Smith is one of the team’s few blue chips to use in the process. Several reports over the past couple of week indicated Smith and Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley were on the trading block going into Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
But when the deadline came and went, both remained on the roster.
Ed Werder of ESPN reported the Philadelphia Eagles tried to land Smith for a fifth-round draft choice. According to his sources, however, the talks ended because the 49ers wanted a third-round pick.
Smith acknowledged the discussions to reporters this week.
“There were negotiations going on, but nothing happened,” Smith said. “I’m still right here.”
Smith said the fact the 49ers were interested in dealing him won’t impact his effort for the 49ers Sunday or for the rest of the season.
“I know I’m very committed to everyone in this locker room and playing well,” he said.
In fact, Smith told Taylor Price of the team’s website that he and his teammates are happy to get back into preparing for the Saints following the bye week. Even at 1-6, he says the team’s attitude and effort are good.
“The energy,” Smith said after practicing. “The execution. It’s very easy to throw the towel in when you’re not playing well or you’re not winning. You don’t see that here. Everyone still has positive vibes. No one is complaining about the situation. Everybody is trying to fix it and be part of the solution.”
The 49ers play the Saints Sunday at Levi’s Stadium, with kickoff set for 1:05 p.m.