Originally posted by cortana49:
I remember him coming into games and wild-eyed doing what he could to move the ball. I remember once he was about to get sacked and he flung the ball over his shoulder down the field. I busted out laughing, but could tell he would be a baller. He was my favorite Niner at the time (next to Hearst)... even bought his jersey. He was bad at first, but you could see he would adjust and do well... and he did.
Basically this. He has a steep but quick learning curve. At first, he seemed over his head. It was kind of sink or swim. But he adjusted quickly, and as he found a way to make his skills match the NFL game, he played at a very high level.
Unfortunately, by that time we were so spoiled with HOF QBs, that we took it for granted and even looked down on it as he couldn't do what Joe or Steve could do. But he made the most of what he had and was a very solid QB.
If we had held on to him instead of blowing up the team (or even if we had to blow up part of it because of "salary cap hell", we would have been much more successful and probably way farther along with rebuilding the franchise to greatness. A good QB covers a lot of other weaknesses. Having the scrub parade at QB since then, combined with rebuilding so many other positions has really hurt us badly. I'm not saying we would have been a SB contender, but the rebuild would have gone much faster and better with a legit QB leading the way and/or teaching the next rookie/project how to succeed at the NFL level.
Instead we went with Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, Cody Pickett, etc.... and have sucked ever since.