The QBs

The QBs?

The competition is over.  The starter has been named.  And yet, the certainty that should come with such a decision does not.  The 49ers QB situation in the short-term has been solved, but the situation in the long-term is fuzzier than ever.

A carpenter is nothing without tools.  You can build a house (maybe more of a lean-to) without any, but I don’t like your chances of having granite countertops and a 5-piece oak dinette set.  Your survival is surely intact, for you have a roof over your head, but your situation would be a lot better if you had used a hammer and nails.

Such is the quarterback situation in San Francisco.

Shaun Hill, the gutty, ugly gamer has been handed the keys.  Alex Smith, the former #1 overall pick, has been relegated to a supporting role.  And the ghosts of great quarterbacks past continue waiting with baited breath for the next great 49er signal-caller.

Two things I know:

1) Alex Smith isn’t it.  While I am first in line to distribute the flyer outlining the myriad excuses for Smith (many of which are completely justified…there I did it again), it doesn’t take an advanced degree in football to realize that he is not the heir apparent to the legacy.

2) Shaun Hill isn’t it, either.  I appreciate intangibles more than most (it’s why Bryant Young is one of my co-favorite all-time 49ers), but I appreciate tangibles even more.  And Shaun Hill has none.  His complete and total lack of arm strength is well-documented.  I haven’t watched every piece of film from 1950 to the present, but no great QB I’ve ever heard of has thrown a “clean” pass that was called tipped by officials.  Just let that soak for a minute…he threw a pass in an NFL game that looked like something my 4-year old niece would do.  What guts he almost surely must have………………………….

The news is not all bad, though.  The quarterback in the 49ers 2009 offense is going to be primarily responsible for getting the ball safely from the center to Frank Gore, Glen Coffee, and anyone else who is willing to stand back there.  The occasional pass to Vernon Davis might also be required.

The old football adage that says, “if you have two quarterbacks, you have zero” rings as true as the law of gravity.  The truth is no matter who won the competition, each has tremendous flaws.  Hill won the job because he was the “reigning champ” so to speak, and he appears to have won a decision of some sort (whether it was split or unanimous is anybody’s guess).  But wouldn’t any of us be a little more excited had he actually put a significant gap between himself and the guy who, #1 pick or not, was coming off two years of injuries?

The best case scenario for the 49ers is for Hill to hold the fort down while the rest of the team continues to progress, then hope that young prospect Nate Davis, or a QB plucked from the draft with one of the 49ers two first-round picks in 2010, steps in sometime down the line to lead the team.

The path to a division title is not all that rocky:  Seattle, Arizona, and St. Louis provide very little in the way of mammoth obstacles.  With the potential on the defensive side of the ball, the offense may not need to do much.  And the promise Glen Coffee has shown in preseason has given me visions of an epic one-two punch working drives with run-pass ratios of 14:2.  Regardless of who is playing QB, the expectations are not terribly daunting:  don’t make stupid mistakes, be efficient, and throw it deep thrice a game.

Nevertheless, I’m not entirely sure I trust Hill to do all three of those things.  I’m not entirely sure I trust Smith to do them, either.  And that’s the foundation for a quarterback carousel.

Hill may have won the competition, but in the end, there are no winners.  Another year drifts by with no answers at quarterback.  The possibility of adding a quarterback with a high draft pick looms again.  And the search for a championship QB stampedes on for the 7th (or 10th, depending on who you ask) year in a row.

  • NinerPaul

    Common' will you just give the guy a freekin chance ……. Let me tell you something I'm a DIHARD 49ER FAN!!!!!!! I mean i almost feel like I have a better quality of life when they win ……. And regardless they have been winning with Hill by whatever you want to call it grit, guts, luck >>>> who freekin cares……… its like your doom and gloom before he's even started the season…… and you say "there are no winners" why don't you let the season's win loss record speak for that….. I don't mind opinion's ……. but your like being Mr. Negative fortune teller…….

    • Eleven11

      I don't think he means "nobody wins" like us, or the team, just not really for the QB position. It's like winning a game of musical chairs with 2 people and 3 chairs, in that winning means nothing. The team can still do great things, but if we come up against a team with amazing rush defense we are straight f**ked.

      • NinerPaul

        I beg to differ >>> Check the rush stats on the last 8 games the 9ners played last year, which Hill started… Average leading rusher was 66 yards a game on the last 8. In fact hill was the leading rusher in one of those games. The only marginal loss we had which was to dallas, gore had 26 yards… so you can't put all that on Hill or any QB …… Hill finished with a repectable average of 234.1 yards a game last…. ohh yeah and the recored 5 W's and 3 L's. Defences thought the same Shaun's not a threat we'll just stack the box and he beat em' more time's than not. And just think we should of one that Arizona monday night game ……. He made mistakes and is good enough to overcome them…. put us in a position to win and the coaches admittedly messed up…… He's a gamer……

  • dosia510


  • I don’t understand the whole (quarterback competition) either. If you are competing for a job that includes throwing the ball, don’t you have to throw the ball more than twice. In the NFL the teams that have success have quarterbacks who can chuck the ball. I keep hearing that the Niners have a deep receiving core but I don’t think we are ever going to realize it. Jones is out for eight weeks and the so called next Jerry Rice is yet to be signed. So that means the receiving core is the exact same as last year, when the receivers rarely beat anyone. Competition, I must have missed it…

  • Does anyone else think that Alex has realized that he is done in Frisco and is now using a sprained thumb as an excuse to not play. I have seen many qb’s that play with concussions and even a broken foot. The toughness that showed when Alex knocked Ellis on his ass and the tackle he made after the int. quickly has faded. If Alex had toughed it out and now with Hill possibly not playing on Saturday maybe Alex could have wowed people and Sing and took back his starting job.

  • Lowrance

    Better O line, maybe 2 high quality rushers.

    Sure takes the pressure off of Hill.

    Hit 'em in the MOUTH!!!!!!

  • Ninaz

    Dude Alex took shoulder hits weeks after the Ellis injury and your saying hes a pussy? The guy took steamroll on his fucked shoulder even after we were gonna lose.

    • Eastcoastninerfan

      At least Alex has an arm! If all you have to do is hand off to Gore and maybe throw once in awhile dont you want someone who can?

  • fromthebooth

    Hill will give the 49ers the best shot to win. Alex Smith is to inconsistent and at times actually looks to be the shakiest of the 3. Hill will make the least amount of mistakes while still contributing. As long as they keep giving the ball to Frank Gore and continue to get productivity out of that defense then they should be OK no matter who steps in as QB. Lets me ask, who believes that any of the QBs they have now is the QB of the future for that team?