The Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware has sacked 37 quarterbacks in his prodigious career. Alex Smith is not one of them, nor has Smith ever faced Dallas.
Those worlds could collide Sunday if the 49ers can't contain Ware, who's blossomed into one of the best pass-rushers in NFL history since being drafted 10 spots below Smith, whom the 49ers took first overall in 2005.
To help prepare for Ware, the 49ers have enlisted this year's top draft pick, outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who's lined up as Ware on the scout team in practice this week.
"Me and him both have long arms, so that's a look I can give the offense," said Aldon Smith, whose frame (6-foot-4, 258 pounds) also is similar to Ware's (6-4, 260).
"You really want to, every week, try to match up your scout team as best you can to what you're about to face," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "So, Aldon, when he's not taking reps, he can give us some looks. That just helps us out."
Ware had two sacks in the Cowboys' 27-24, season-opening loss to the host New York Jets. He has 82 career sacks, including a league-high 151/2 last season and a franchise-record 20 in 2008.
"He's probably the best pass rusher in football," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Plus he can also play like a defensive end. (He's) so strong with his strong hands, powerful lower (body), explosive, and now a technician in terms of technique and all of his assignments, et cetera. The guy is the best in the game."
The 49ers, who did not allow a sack in Sunday's 33-17 win over Seattle, are anticipating Ware to line up on either the right or left side, or whichever side doesn't feature tight-end protection.
In the 49ers' two games against Dallas since 2005, Tim Rattay played instead of Alex Smith in a 34-31 loss in 2005, and Smith sat out the 2008 season in which Dallas posted a 35-22 home win.
For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers.