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Aldon Smith could be looking at 20-25 percent of snaps vs. Panthers, acccording to PFT

Speculation has begun as to how much playing time Aldon Smith might get on Sunday. We break down what it all means. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Talk is reporting a league source said the 49ers plan on easing Aldon Smith into the lineup on Sunday. The source indicated Smith is expected to play 20-25 percent of defensive snaps. This came a day after Vic Fangio said he expected Smith to play, but would not commit to anything specific.

I'm not exactly sure why a league source would have this kind of information. And while the team might have a snap count in place, I don't think they would fully commit to any one specific course of action. They might be looking to use Aldon Smith 20-25 percent of the time, but as Fangio said on Thursday, the flow of the game could very well dictate a lot of things.

If Aldon does get that 20-25 percent of snaps, that comes out to anywhere from 12-18 snaps. I'm not entirely sure how they would sort through that series by series. Would they be looking to use him exclusively in 3rd and long situations? Or do you get him out there on first or second down to set up longer situations, at which point he comes off the field?

This is all assuming this is accurate. I wouldn't be surprised if we heard additional conjecture about playing time because it's easy to throw out some random projections on playing time. As long as you couch it with "expects to" or that it "depends on the flow of the game", you can get away with most anything.

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