Consider this perfect timing for this post. I hadn't fully weighed in on the burgeoning Shaun Hill era aside from the run through of his performance against the Bengals. Since then, over at ESPN The Sports Guy weighed in on the quarterback crisis in the NFL and I posted some this morning thoughts on not getting ahead of ourselves with Shaun Hill over at Nothing Finer, the FSN Bay Area 49ers blog I've been writing.
First off, Bill Simmons aka The Sports Guy, for those who do not read his work. He did a quasi-poll of the 60 quarterbacks who have started a game this season to clear up how ugly things really have been in the NFL. It's not a traditional 1-60 poll, but rather a breakdown into different categories. What did he have to say about Alex Smith and Shaun Hill?
Cleo Lemon,Tarvaris Jackson, Rex Grossman, Sage Rosenfels, Brodie Croyle, Alex Smith, the McCown brothers (Josh and Luke)
Comments: I'm not sure what's more astonishing -- that Alex Smith was included in this list, or that you could argue he should be two levels lower. Also, this list actually made me laugh out loud after I typed all the names. There's something inherently funny about the group itself and the sight of "the McCown brothers" pushes it over the top. They're like the Buffer brothers, only if both of them were Bruce.
Todd Collins, Shaun Hill
Comments: Just remember, William Hung and Delores the Lunch Lady had their 15 minutes, too. Yes, I'm bitter both guys cost me money last week.
While the Alex Smith category is pretty spot on, I take umbrage with his lumping of Shaun Hill with Todd Collins. Collins has been in the league for 13 years and actually started most of the 1997 season with the Buffalo Bills. Shaun Hill has been in the league six years and made his first ever start last week.
I put together the post over at Nothing Finer to basically say, "Let's not get ahead of ourselves, ANYTHING is possible." Shaun Hill could be the savior fans have been looking for. Then again, Alex Smith could bounce back from surgery and be the franchise quarterback for the next decade. And of course, neither could work out and we start all over in a couple of years. However, the upside to Hill playing so well is that he'll give Alex Smith competition that he has never had before. Smith was handed the starting QB position and never had to earn it with his performance on the field after college. Plenty of teams do that and it works out fine (Aikman, Manning, etc...). However, competition could prove useful to Alex Smith. If he wilts under the pressure, we've saved ourselves further heartache. If he steps up and claims the job as his own, all the better. Either way, a strong finish for Hill this year will make for an interesting 2008 training camp.