FOOCH'S UPDATE 11:05AM: Maiocco tweeted that Singletary named Smith the starter for tomorrow's game. It'll be interesting to see how much playing time he gets.
At some point today we'll probably find out who the 49ers will be rolling out at starting quarterback for tomorrow's matchup with the rival Oakland Raiders. A couple days ago, Maiocco indicated the starter would probably be Alex Smith. If that announcement does come down, I'd hope nobody would read too much into that. As Maiocco indicated, and one would imagine is fairly obvious at this point, Shaun Hill is leading the battle for the starting QB position.
One could first look at the fact that Hill had so little playing time against the Broncos, even as the starting quarterback. Jimmy Raye addressed it yesterday when asked about the split time for this coming weekend:
On the quarterbacks getting an equal amount of playing time this Saturday:
"Yes, that’s what we’d like to do. We made the decision last week because of the play sequence not to put the guy that started the game back in because it would spill over and run us in to a situation in the second half that we didn’t want to be in with the time and the offensive line. Whoever we talk about in the Thursday meeting to start the game, the next guy that’s in competition with him we hope that he gets the snaps. That’s controlled a little bit by how they control the ball and the quarters running out and the time, so we’ll either go snap and series based on how the game is unfolding, but we’d like to get each one of them about 15 snaps a piece."
I realize there are play sequence issues, but I just think if the race was all that close at this point, we would have seen more of Shaun Hill. He was 2/2 for 41 yards on one offensive series. Alex Smith ended up with four offensive series through the end of the second quarter. I suppose the timing does lend credence to the play sequence explanation, as Smith came in with less than a minute left in the first quarter.
But still, given how little they played Nate Davis, they could have fit in a bit more playing time for Hill if they really wanted to see more. It's safe to say they know what they're expecting from Hill. Obviously he needs to show that he can smoothly run the offense. However, the 49ers have reached a point where they probably have a good idea of what to get out of Hill. Alex Smith, on the other hand, is finally healthy and could show them who knows what.
So, at this point, can Alex Smith win the job? Obviously anything is possible when you don't have a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady as your QB. However, it seems like we've reached a point where Hill would have to totally melt down in an extended preseason appearance. Of course, based on the spread of playing time, his only extended preseason appearance would likely be next week at Dallas. Time is ticking for Alex Smith, at least as far as the early part of the preseason is concerned. Although I'm curious to see both QBs performance tomorrow, at this point I'm even more intrigued by Singletary's post-game press conference.