Why is this even a story? Alex Smith might be the biggest draft bust since Ryan Leaf. Smith had been looking better in training camp, but games have been a different story for him.. Hillhad the ace in the hole, with good numbers down the stretch for a 49ers team last year that actually was competitive. Hill threw for over 2000 yards and 13 TD’s in just nine games last season.
After losing his starting gig last season due to breaking a bone in his shoulder, Smith reworked his rookie contract in order to remain on the 49ers roster. The new contract will pay Smith $4 million dollars a season, down considerably from the $24 million that his original contract called for over the next two seasons. Regardless of dollars, Singletary might get caught with his pants down (this time not willingly) should Hill flop and the 49ers season end up as recent seasons have.
Coach Singletary joined KNBR to shed some light as to why he’s going with Shaun Hill over Alex Smith.
On why he tagged Hill the starter:
“First and foremost Shaun ended last season on a great note and really came into the off season and just continued to build on everything that he’s done before. I’m very excited about his progression this off-season and what I’ve seen so far. The coaches and I have evaluated on a daily basis and Shaun had just continued to progress and really our offense does a great job underneath him.”
Singletary was asked about the competition between Hill and Smith and how close the competition actually was:
“I thought Alex Smith did a great job all off-season. The thing that I was hoping for more than anything was for Alex to work through some of the other things that you have to deal with. Some of the injuries and some of the other setbacks to get to the point of making it fair, making it a fair competition. He did that. I just think at the end of the day, Shaun Hill was what we felt gave us the best chance to win right now.”
On if Singletary is going to have to coach Smith up mentally after his fall from grace:
“I met with Shaun and Alex yesterday together, after I had met with them as individuals, and really let both of them know that I’m very thankful that we have a situation where we have two quarterbacks in the organization that can win football games. Alex is going to continue to polish up his game, continue to work on the techniques and everything else and I really, really look forward to them to continue to push one another to higher levels.”
On if this decision was more his, or his staff’s decision:
“I made the call. The thing that you have to understand is that when you’re on the defensive side of the ball one of the things that you have to study very carefully is the quarterback. As a middle linebacker, I’m always looking across the line of scrimmage into the eyes of the quarterback. The thing that I remember the most, the thing that’s impressive about any quarterback I played against was the mannerisms in which they led their teams. It wasn’t so much if they had a great arm, if they could make all the throws. It was just how their team responded to them, their leadership. Those are the kinds of things I thought were very important.”