In the least shocking announcement in recent memory, Mike Nolan officially named J.T. O'Sullivan the starting QB for the 49ers regular season opener against Arizona.
A month ago this would obviously have taken all of us by surprise. J.T. O'Sullivan came into camp as the #3 and in fact seemed officially out of the competition early in camp. Next thing you know, Shaun Hill has a tired shoulder and gets Wally Pipped out of the rotation. Within a week O'Sullivan had surged past Alex Smith and never looked back. He struggled in the first two preseason games, although we could see some improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. Last night against the Bears he played a pretty perfect first quarter, finally locking down the starting position.
While this answers the question of the competition, the scrutiny is only beginning for O'Sullivan. There is still a large contingent of Smith and Hill fans who will not hesitate in jumping all over O'Sullivan if he struggles early. I mentioned in the recap post last night that O'Sullivan would have some ugly mistakes and have us all pulling our hair out at times. However, I did notice that last night he minimized those. There was no pass to the wide open defensive back, which is certainly a good thing.
Also, just noticed RogiSF2000's Fan Post and as I want to keep things within one post, I'm gonna clip some of his and post it here. Also, he included a poll that I'll add in here as well (with the addition of a Shaun Hill vote option):
It is now official, both Maiocco and Barrows are now reporting that Nolan announced O'Sullivan as the starting QB. Its interesting that one of the reporters asked him if Alex is considered a bust and Nolan shut him down by saying that he is improving everyday.
From what I read, it sounds to me that Nolan picked the best starting day QB but realizes that he needs Alex in there as the starter in order to keep his job. I wonder how Alex will respond and if he will demand a trade now. Through this whole summer I really wanted/believed that Alex be the starting QB come regular season, but after watching the Bears game, it is clear that O'Sullivan deserves being the started. My only concern is that he looked so much better because of all the first team action he was getting rather than talent. Regardless, I think a right choice was made, though I still hope Alex wins the job back.
So, now that we have an answer, it's game time. Whether you're an O'Sullivan fan or not, this season is certainly looking a little more interesting than last year ended up. I don't know how it's gonna end but I imagine it will be a wild ride.