SANTA CLARA -- With four new players on the 53-man roster since the 49ers’ last game, coach Jim Harbaugh made it clear to his team this week that there would be a weekly competition for the right to suit up for games.
“(I) asked them to make an argument, state a case this week and we’ll go to the game with the best 46 that gives us the best chance to win,” Harbaugh said on Friday.
The 49ers added outside linebacker Aldon Smith, wide receiver Mario Manningham, cornerback Eric Wright and defensive lineman Tank Carradine to the roster in the past two weeks.
Smith and Manningham are expected to see significant playing time on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Candlestick Park. But Harbaugh would not discuss the plan for which seven players will be declared inactive.
“I don’t want to give that information away,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said Smith, who returned to the 49ers after missing five games after entering a treatment facility for substance abuse, had strong week of practice, Harbaugh said.
“To my eye, it looked liked he had a very good week,” Harbaugh said. “Moving around, knowing his assignments.”
How much he plays will be determined by the "personality" of the game, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said this week. Harbaugh said the 49ers have not discussed how much Smith will play in Sunday’s game.
"I was not part of that meeting, if that meeting was held," Harbaugh said.
“What we think is in the best interest of the team. What we think is in the best interest of the individual player. We’ll do that to monitor that and implement that to the best of our ability.”
49ers Status Report
WR Quinton Patton (right foot)
LB Ahmad Brooks (stinger), DT Ray McDonald (biceps), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)
G Alex Boone (shoulder), T Anthony Davis (shoulder), DT Quinton Dial (ankle), RB Frank Gore (ankle), G Mike Iupati (elbow), WR Kyle Williams (knee)
Panthers Status Report
LB Chase Blackburn (foot), CB James Dockery (shoulder), G Chris Scott (knee)