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Case Closed: O’Sullivan Should be the Starter

Aug 22, 2008 at 9:36 AM

It's over, folks. This quasi-quarterback competition, which looked more like an anointment since JT O'Sullivan took over the starting team reps, is finally over. Even if Mike Nolan doesn't publicly admit it.

O'Sullivan played a great game and finished the night with a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3. If you want to see exactly how O'Sullivan secured his crown you need only look to O'Sullivan's beautiful 40 yard pass to Vernon Davis, followed by his 37-yard bullet to Jason Hill in the end zone. Two-plays - six-points. In back to back plays O'Sullivan showed finesse, accuracy, mobility and arm strength. More importantly, he showed the ability to put it all together in the all too complex Mike Martz offense.

Call me a big softie, but I can't help but feel a little bad for Alex Smith. It's no secret that Smith got a bad deal - the "million-dollars-in-the-briefcase-and-settling-for-30K" kind of deal. And he didn't even get to watch the Deal or No Deal girls while his chances were slipping away.

Thursday night's game was a clear example. All week Nolan contended that the short week forced the quarterback rotation to stay the same. A poor excuse rendered even worse by the fact that Smith was able to jump in early in the second quarter and play an okay game.

It was almost as if Nolan wanted to embarrass Smith. "Instead of giving you first team reps during the other games, I'm going to throw you into a game where your main competition just played out-of-his-mind good football. No pressure."

Smith did what he has done thus far in San Francisco, played okay. Not stellar, just okay. He was late with some throws, nearly got one of his receivers killed with a hospital pass, and was not putting the balls in the places they needed to be. Of course, he did play well enough to move the team down the field and score, but it was more Dilfer-esque, and less Manning-esque.

At this point, if Nolan goes with anyone but O'Sullivan it will be the biggest head scratcher of the season. Martz seemingly forced Nolan's hand in this and Nolan, despite his best PR efforts, will glean nothing more from watching film. He knows what we all can see. It is ow the era of JT O'Sullivan in San Francisco.


-It was a familiar sight in St. Louis: Kurt Warner burning time outs like they were going out of style as the offense left the huddle late or didn't line up properly. Ahh, the other edge to the Mike Martz blade. "It was only the first half," you say. Well the lack of time outs cost the 49ers a safety and great field position because the 49ers were not able to challenge Devin Hester's hubris, aka running out of the end zone and then running back in. The officials clearly blew the call, but without any time outs, the 49ers had nothing to wager in the challenge game and lost by default. So far, everything has been roses with Martz and the 49ers offense but be on the look out. Nolan was never great with time management and Martz will certainly exacerbate the problem.

-It looks like the 49ers bread and butter this year on defense will be the line-stunt. It worked well against Green Bay, but against Chicago, the stunts did not generate any significant pressure. Considering the pressure the Bears yielded to San Francisco division rival Seattle, the 49ers have some work ahead of them to ensure a steady pass rush.

-Mark Roman had a rocky game last night. But he is in no immediate danger finding himself warming the bench. While Dashon Goldson is definitely putting pressure on Roman, Nolan really likes Roman's command of the defense. The team likens it to having another coach on the field. How long that keeps Roman in the starting line up is yet to be determined, but this could be another example of Nolan going with his "type of guy" instead of a player that would provide a palpable impact.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Ness
    Dont forget about Shaun Hill. He did win us three games in a row last season . i think this whole situation has not been fair. I believe hill is better than JT and it sad to see that everyone has forgot about him. Nolan did not give him a chance to win the starting role. Hill should have got a chance with the first team . Am gonna be pissed if Jt screws up and we loose a couple games.
    Aug 24, 2008 at 11:33 PM
    Response: Hill got just as much of a chance as Smith. The personal calling the shots here was Martz, not Nolan, and Hill did not fit the role that Martz wanted for his signal caller. Against the third teams, Hill has not done anything to set himself apart from JTO.
  • Frank
    Oscar, I couldn't agree with you more...we're still seeing way too much Alex vs JTO sentiment. For some reason, there's an element among the Niner Faithful that just can't seem to let go of it, or the "fire Nolan" mantra. Well, Alex isn't our starting QB any more and Nolan's still head coach. I wouldn't expect either situation to change, unless JTO gets hurt. Even then, Im not sure Alex can take charge of this team any more. As for Nolan, I'm hoping he's successful...many fans ignore the fact this will be the first season Coach has had two excellent coordinators. That, plus the obvious better talent has me pretty excited about this season. Our offense will no longer be a liability...which will help the defense be more aggressive. ST's had a bad game vs Da Bears, but they've proven themselves, so, I'm not worried. I see plenty of reasons to be all the negativity among a faction of our so-called fans is simply immature misplaced anger.
    Aug 24, 2008 at 2:43 AM
    Response: Say JTO gets hurt and Smith comes in and plays ridiculously good? Or, even worse, if JTO plays poor and makes bad decisions with the football...Nolan cold be in for something then. We will see how the whole QB controversy plays out as the season gets on.
  • Ricky
    Roman has done nothing in preseason,Dashon Goldson needs to start. If Nolan keeps going with his "type of guy " his past due firing should come this year. Him sticking with Dilfer last year untill the injury was absolutely appalling.
    Aug 23, 2008 at 8:40 AM
    Response: I agree that Goldson should be the starter. I think they two players are even enough that Roman could start, but if Roman's play does not improve, there should be no reason to keep the second year player sitting.

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