Smith Gets the Start, Don’t Freak Out. Give Him a Chance.

So this is what a fair quarterback competition looks like huh? Remember last year when Mike Nolan claimed to hold an open competition between Shaun Hill and Alex Smith, only to have him stubbornly stick with Mike Martz’s choice? The ensuing catastrophe cost Nolan his job and Mike Singletary did what any rational person would have done; bench the turnover prone, sack taking yahoo. I remember begging for someone else, anyone else, even Joey Harrington. Joey Harrington. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that and Shaun Hill led the 49ers to a respectable 5-3 record to end the season..

Hill has earned the right to be the starter for the 49ers. He has been consistent and reliable. He won’t hold on to the ball too long and will make the right reads. I like that he wins games without the physical abilities other quarterbacks have, and pulls through with grit and moxie. He’s a leader who doesn’t quit. However, I am not ready to give up on Alex Smith. I am in the minority of camps that still believe Smith has something to offer the 49ers.. I love his athleticism. I love his arm strength. What he lacks is what Hill possesses, and vice versa. If they were combined, you’d have yourself a Jeff Garcia type quarterback with a stronger arm. (Didn’t the 49ers have Garcia? You know when they were good? Oh well, never mind that.)

Smith has never had a fair chance to prove himself. Whether it was being mishandled by Mike Nolan, or the pressures of a young quarterback learning a new offensive system every year, it has left a bad mark on him. He is not too old to make a comeback. He is only 25 and has years left as an NFL quarterback. He hasn’t even played enough games to develop bad habits like David Carr. 32 games is not enough to label him the notorious “b” word, especially when half of those games show growth as a QB. 2890 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions are fine numbers for a second year starter. If Norv Turner had stuck around or Smith had not had his career derailed by an injury, he could have improved to a regular 3000+ yard, 20+ touchdown passer. Without any kind of stability, of course Smith couldn’t function properly. Who could? It’s ridiculous to ask someone to play under a new system each year and realize their potential.

Last week Shaun Hill got the start, but Alex Smith received the bulk of the reps with the first team. This week might be the same with the roles reversed. It is very interesting to see that even if Coach does have a favorite, he isn’t showing it. I’m very grateful to Coach Singletary for actually giving his quarterbacks a fair chance to earn the job. I like both quarterbacks and their separate abilities, and I do expect Hill to win the position, but I will be rooting for Smith to get a second chance, a real chance.



I have been a 49ers fan my entire life and will continue to be one long after I'm dead. My plan for the afterlife is to haunt the Dallas Cowboys and ensure they will never win another Super Bowl. My favorite 49er of all time is Steve Young, and my favorite current 49er would probably be Alex Smith. (I take a lot of sh** for that, even from Niner fans.).
  • Raymond Hudson

    While I may not be much of a Smith fan I’m a 49ers fan for life and if you think I should give Smith a chance then so be it. Thanks man.

  • Jasun

    Shaun Hill is A winner and gets the job done.

  • Lowrance

    I think Mike already knows what he has in Hill, and wants to give Alex as much chance to improve as possible. Even if Alex is number 2, he needs confidence and play time if Hill gets hurt.

  • dosia510

    we should resign cody pickett

    • NinerPaul

      Ha Ha >> Thats funny!

  • NinerPaul

    I am one for fairness. The game of football is played on the field. There are some many things going on as a QB that your mind must process the information as someone is trying to get you or hit you. One on the most important things is to be tough and smart in orchestrating your team. Confidence is so important. I think Shaun has shown this skill the best so far.

  • dosia510

    FUCK THE RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Briman

    Let’s go Smith!!! Show ‘em what you got!

  • Texas9er

    The 49ers defense is the shit. At least top 5

  • James

    Have we already forgotten about J.T. O'Sullivan? I realize it's selective memory, but he and Trent Dilfer were both QBs last year. It's ok though, I'm trying hard to forget, too…

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  • http://49ersnews.com Angela

    I agree with you guys! I have been a 49er fan since I was 5yrs old. I loved Joe Montana, but Steve Young cannot be topped. To me he was the ultimate quarterback, leading the team to winning seasons year after year. He wasn't just a quarterback, he was a wide receiver, a corner back & every part of that team. He never limited himself and pushed to be the best he could be. He played for the joy, the love of football. There hasn't been a quarterback or a football player w/as much heart as he had. He didn't need to money, the glory or the fame. He played for the love of football. For that I will always adore and admire him. I have 2 jerseys, both home and away for him. I hope he reads this and knows just how many fans he still has. To you Steve Young-I adore you. Thank you for the years you commited to the 49ers & to your team mates. #8 is engraved in my heart for all time!