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The QB Situation: Opening Day 2010

I have no idea what's wrong with our offense. The QB? The offensive coaching philosophy? The O-line? There's a laundry list of reasons why we're suffering on offense.

But so far, in my opinion, if we have a chance at making the playoffs this year or next year, it's going to be with Alex Smith. Shaun Hill appears to be a career backup, while Nate Davis is a raw commodity. If Davis ever becomes a starting QB, I believe Nate Davis will take some time to develop.

Many want to draft a QB, but unless there's a STRONG surrounding cast like Roethlisberger had with the Steelers in his rookie year, a rookie QB next season wouldn't produce. It's up to McCloughan on whether or not he wants to draft a QB in the long-run, but I would think his fate is tied to Alex Smith.

There's a lot of excuses for Alex Smith at this point. In my opinion, some of these are valid... No continuity at the OC position... he's not well-suited to certain offensive schemes... the play selection sucks this year... Mike Nolan "ruined" him... Injuries...

But I think another offseason with Jimmy Raye as OC, keeping the same system, but by tailoring the offense to Alex's strengths (likely the spread offense), would answer the validity of the above "excuses."

But this is what I think SHOULD happen:
- With the loss to the Packers and our difficult schedule, we will likely miss the playoffs.

- We should slowly but surely adjust the gameplan to include plays that work to Alex's strengths. The scheme needs to be more consistent too. None of this "run every down in the first half, followed by passing every down in the second half" nonsense.

- Hopefully, Alex will improve. As it stands now, he's got an 81.5 QB rating, with a 61% completion percentage. Some of those numbers are from the soft Texans and Packers defenses though. But if he can maintain these numbers by playing in a more consistent scheme and even improve on them, I think we can expect good things from Alex.

- Alex's performance will dictate just how high we draft a QB and/or the reps we give to Nate Davis in training camp. If he does pretty well and looks like a starting QB, I don't draft a QB until maybe the 3rd round. If he looks like "the same old Alex," then we'll need to consider drafting a guy high and/or trying to expedite Nate Davis's progression (which I don't think will be a good thing).

- Obviously, the cast will need to be adjusted. The offensive line needs work. The Offensive Line coach will need to be evaluated. I don't think Jimmy Raye should be fired, unless the offense regresses BADLY this season. But at the same time, our young WRs will all have a season under their belts as starters (Crabtree, Morgan, and hopefully Hill). They will likely progress and be much better players next year.

- Assuming Alex Smith improves over the rest of the season, he should enter training camp as the starter and take the reps that a starter would normally take.

- The 2010 season will be important for the careers of Singletary, McCloughan, and Alex Smith. I don't believe Nate Davis or a rookie QB would emerge next year. Singletary, who should probably be given the benefit of the doubt and have 3 seasons under his belt, has been around this franchise and has many similar tendencies to Mike Nolan. If he doesn't know how to make this franchise work after being around it so much, then he probably should go if he fails next year. McCloughan has been involved in the re-building effort since the beginning. This is Alex Smith's last chance as a starter. If he can't do it now, then he probably won't do it ever.

- Should we miss the playoffs next season, we may have to start over.

What do you guys think?
There's a big assumption that the team's success is linked to the QB performance, but I think that's a fair assumption. The QB has to play reasonably well for the team to succeed. I'm not saying the QB has to post Peyton Manning or Drew Brees numbers, but they do have to move the chains, make plays every so often, and limit turnovers. If we run a primarily-passing attack, then their responsibilities are greater. But what do you guys think of this situation I've played out?
  • Aroh
  • Info N/A
I say just have Alex finish out this year and have him starting next year. I don't really think we have any other options. I don't trust our coaching staff to put Nate Davis in a position to succeed so I think we should just keep Alex in there in hope that Raye or whoever our O Coordinator/HC is next year figures out how to call an offense.
My bet is Alex finishes out this year. And I think he may start next year also. I don't think it will be Shaun Hill. I don't think Nate Davis will be ready even next year and is somewhat overrated on this board. For 2010 the likely guy will be Alex. If we draft a rookie 1st rounder that guy won't be ready right away.
I don't see us getting anyone in FA or trade. And if we draft a guy do we throw him in there right away? He would for sure have better weapons than Smith had and unless the front office is stupid, an improved offensive line too.
how about trading a draft pick for a proven qb?
Originally posted by Aroh:
I say just have Alex finish out this year and have him starting next year. I don't really think we have any other options. I don't trust our coaching staff to put Nate Davis in a position to succeed so I think we should just keep Alex in there in hope that Raye or whoever our O Coordinator/HC is next year figures out how to call an offense.

I agree. Because this direction will help in a few of ways.

1) Alex will have had two full off season with the same offense 2) Alex will have had one full off season to practice with the team as the #1 guy, which should help our offensive chemistry 3) This will determine if Raye will remain as the OC as some say it will take 2 years to fully integrate a new offense.

This will once and for all answer if Alex is our QB and if Alex falters, than Nate Davis will have over a year and half to learn the offense.
Originally posted by Daniel2778:
how about trading a draft pick for a proven qb?

No.

And there won't be any quality ones available. Only if there is a quality FA with no compensation of draft picks required like Drew Brees to N.O.
Originally posted by teeohh:
I don't see us getting anyone in FA or trade. And if we draft a guy do we throw him in there right away? He would for sure have better weapons than Smith had and unless the front office is stupid, an improved offensive line too.

I think throwing a rookie in there depends on a lot of things... How well did Alex Smith do at the end of this season? How NFL-ready is this drafted QB? Did we decide to become a vertical passing team, or did we remain as a power-running team?

If Alex Smith did well, the drafted QB isn't NFL ready, or we're a vertical passing team... we probably don't throw this drafted QB into the mix.

If Alex Smith did poorly, the drafted QB is NFL-ready, or we're a run-stopping team... we may think about including the drafted QB in the QB competition.

It all depends on where the team is at that point.
Originally posted by Wubbie:
I have no idea what's wrong with our offense. The QB? The offensive coaching philosophy? The O-line? There's a laundry list of reasons why we're suffering on offense.

But so far, in my opinion, if we have a chance at making the playoffs this year or next year, it's going to be with Alex Smith. Shaun Hill appears to be a career backup, while Nate Davis is a raw commodity. If Davis ever becomes a starting QB, I believe Nate Davis will take some time to develop.

Many want to draft a QB, but unless there's a STRONG surrounding cast like Roethlisberger had with the Steelers in his rookie year, a rookie QB next season wouldn't produce. It's up to McCloughan on whether or not he wants to draft a QB in the long-run, but I would think his fate is tied to Alex Smith.

There's a lot of excuses for Alex Smith at this point. In my opinion, some of these are valid... No continuity at the OC position... he's not well-suited to certain offensive schemes... the play selection sucks this year... Mike Nolan "ruined" him... Injuries...

But I think another offseason with Jimmy Raye as OC, keeping the same system, but by tailoring the offense to Alex's strengths (likely the spread offense), would answer the validity of the above "excuses."

But this is what I think SHOULD happen:
- With the loss to the Packers and our difficult schedule, we will likely miss the playoffs.

- We should slowly but surely adjust the gameplan to include plays that work to Alex's strengths. The scheme needs to be more consistent too. None of this "run every down in the first half, followed by passing every down in the second half" nonsense.

- Hopefully, Alex will improve. As it stands now, he's got an 81.5 QB rating, with a 61% completion percentage. Some of those numbers are from the soft Texans and Packers defenses though. But if he can maintain these numbers by playing in a more consistent scheme and even improve on them, I think we can expect good things from Alex.

- Alex's performance will dictate just how high we draft a QB and/or the reps we give to Nate Davis in training camp. If he does pretty well and looks like a starting QB, I don't draft a QB until maybe the 3rd round. If he looks like "the same old Alex," then we'll need to consider drafting a guy high and/or trying to expedite Nate Davis's progression (which I don't think will be a good thing).

- Obviously, the cast will need to be adjusted. The offensive line needs work. The Offensive Line coach will need to be evaluated. I don't think Jimmy Raye should be fired, unless the offense regresses BADLY this season. But at the same time, our young WRs will all have a season under their belts as starters (Crabtree, Morgan, and hopefully Hill). They will likely progress and be much better players next year.

- Assuming Alex Smith improves over the rest of the season, he should enter training camp as the starter and take the reps that a starter would normally take.

- The 2010 season will be important for the careers of Singletary, McCloughan, and Alex Smith. I don't believe Nate Davis or a rookie QB would emerge next year. Singletary, who should probably be given the benefit of the doubt and have 3 seasons under his belt, has been around this franchise and has many similar tendencies to Mike Nolan. If he doesn't know how to make this franchise work after being around it so much, then he probably should go if he fails next year. McCloughan has been involved in the re-building effort since the beginning. This is Alex Smith's last chance as a starter. If he can't do it now, then he probably won't do it ever.

- Should we miss the playoffs next season, we may have to start over.

What do you guys think?
There's a big assumption that the team's success is linked to the QB performance, but I think that's a fair assumption. The QB has to play reasonably well for the team to succeed. I'm not saying the QB has to post Peyton Manning or Drew Brees numbers, but they do have to move the chains, make plays every so often, and limit turnovers. If we run a primarily-passing attack, then their responsibilities are greater. But what do you guys think of this situation I've played out?

put together very welll.... but there will be no need to start over if there is not playoffs.. we simply need to fix what is wrong... if alex does bad, trade or get a good FA. if its the coaching staff, get a good established one.
Originally posted by Daniel2778:
how about trading a draft pick for a proven qb?

If we could trade for a quality QB, then I whole-heartedly would support this decision. But what teams are willing to give up a proven QB? Off the top of my head, I can't think of any teams with 2 good QBs situations like in Montana/Young, Brady/Bledsoe, Brady/Cassel, Vick/Schaub. If such a situation exists, then I'd love for the team to pull the trigger.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's any good QBs coming out to free agency either.
Originally posted by Ninerman49:
put together very welll.... but there will be no need to start over if there is not playoffs.. we simply need to fix what is wrong... if alex does bad, trade or get a good FA. if its the coaching staff, get a good established one.

Well, if Alex Smith does badly, we'll have to start our QB situation over. There's always growing pains with a new QB. If we could get a situation like Drew Brees and the Saints or Kurt Warner and the Cardinals, then it could work. But for the most part, a new QB would take a few seasons to become adjusted.

With a new coaching staff or GM, I feel they also take some time. While there are some instances of first-time coaches doing well (Payton and the Saints,, Gruden and the Bucs), a lot of them take at least a season, because they're just getting to know the team... cutting players that fit with their philosophy, while trying to find players that do fit.
Unless Smith has a complete and utter melt down, I think he'll have a chance to compete for the starting spot. The last 6 games are not terribly hard (other than Philly), so Alex should be able to collect some wins.

Of course we dont adjust our play calling who knows what will happen.
As much as I hope we win enough to make the playoffs, it doesn't seem like we will be able to....

what I see happening is Alex is allowed to come out in the spread these next few games.... throws INTs or struggles..because teams will be ready for it....

then they will play Nate Davis maybe 3 games for now....and he will do fine for a rookie.... I really believe he has a natural feel for the game...has nice touch on his passes when need be and of course has a strong arm.....also seems to be accurate on his deep passes.....

anyway...he plays well.....and next year......wait for it......

both Alex and Shaun will not be here...

I look at it like Alex was given his last chance...team will finally move on..... they probably would want Shaun to come back as a backup.....Shaun might feel he got shafted this year and might choose to try for another team and ask for his release (maybe he tries to go to Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver)

Alex might go to San Diego as a backup....or maybe some other team.

and we bring in a Vet QB to mentor and look over Nate as he tries to build off this year.

Nate Davis
Gore, Coffee
Crabtree, Vernon, Jason Hill, Morgan, Delanie

and yes, hopefully an improved Oline.
Originally posted by SanDiego49er:
Originally posted by Daniel2778:
how about trading a draft pick for a proven qb?

No.

And there won't be any quality ones available. Only if there is a quality FA with no compensation of draft picks required like Drew Brees to N.O.

So I guess you'd rather be a bottom dweller of a team then. That crystal ball of yours is pretty certain that we will suck again next year too then. Damn it!!!
an argument for building around alex smith:

1. no better option will be found in free agency---jason campbell is probably the cream of the free agent crop.....a drew brees in free agency comes along about as often as haley's comet

2. no better option will be found in trade. who will be available for trade that is any good? a jay cutler comes along when ther eis trouble with his team...many here wanted derek anderson or brady quinn, but look how they have done (notwithstanding quinn's good day today--remember it was vs lions)
a kevin kolb may come along, but how proven is he? and teams usually have to overpay for qb prospects

3. smith has shown improvement this year, especially in terms of accuracy and pocket presence...coming in to today's game he was at 65% completion and has now 9tds vs 7 int...not over whelming numbers but factor in oline play that doesnt give him much time to throw unless he is in shotgun, and questionable play calling

also, smith is showing some chemistry with both crabtree and davis--jason hill as well, which I would expect to improve with another off season and with smith going into 2010 as starter...morgan has talent but he and smith havent hooked up much. but again i expect that will improve...keeping raye as o-coordinator with johnson being groomed as his successor also would give smith needed continuity....smith has the physical tools to do very well, his throws to davis in the seam as wellas the td pass to crabtree were fine throws, and the 3 tds today came on 3rd & 20, 3rd & 10 and 4th & 5, which is impressive

4. drafting a qb---the 1-9 teams (browns rams) and other teams likely to draft ahead of niners (bills, skins) are likely to get the premium qb prospects--and even if one falls into niners laps, they will likely not be ready to contribute immediately ....adding help at offensive line and pass rush will improve niners more, at least in short run than taking a qb high