The San Francisco 49ers held their first workouts of the off-season this past weekend and what was thought of as two-way competition at QB, might become a three-way fight to the finish. Third stringer J.T. O’Sullivan, signed in the off-season, played in Mike Martz’s offense last season appearing in five games for the Detroit Lions. As Ryan Leaf, sorry, Alex Smith and Shaun Hill learn the new system under Martz; one has to think O’Sullivan has the edge in competing for the starting job with his experience in the Martz system. In response to a questions by The San Francisco Chronicle Martz said O’Sullivan “has an excellent chance” of competing for the starting job and “if Mike Nolan said any one of the three can be your starting quarterback, I’d be happy. … They all have a pretty good grasp of what we’re doing.”

Competition is always a good thing for a team, but if O’Sullivan were to win the starting job it would mean either Smith or Hill are injured or were just ineffective in training camp. Either way it would be a huge setback not only for Smith, his development and ego, but for the Niners as a team as they are trying to find the identity of their team and how they can get back to playing at a playoff level and competing for their sixth Super Bowl ring. With a journeyman like O’Sullivan as you’re starting QB, it does not bode well for Niners as they try to return to respectability.

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  • Ian | Inside the Iggles

    Interesting. I guess it’s going to be a heated battle in training camp.

  • Brad

    You have to be kidding me. If J.T. O’Sullivan is a starter I am going to hang myself with my replica Alex Smith jersey. Maybe I do not know Nolan that well, but this seems to be shot across the bow of Alex D. Smith. Smith and Nolan do not appear to be on the same page, with regard to anything. Perhaps this is just an example of lingering bad blood between coach and quarterback over the “injury-gate” where Nolan seemed to intimate that Smith was not as injured as he claimed.

    I think it should be obvious that trying to pick up your third god damned offense in three years is trying on a young quarterback. And how could someone who has already played in this system not have an advantage over two quarterbacks who are new to this. That would be like saying Isaac Bruce seems more comfortable and has an excellent shot at being the number one wide receiver, simply because he knows how this offense worked. Though perhaps that analogy is too strained as Isaac Bruce is actually a good player, whereas none of these quarterbacks has proven they can be.

    I have heard reports from various reporters that Smith looked good coming back, but with the installation of a new offense created by Mike “Mad Professor” Martz, I am willing to give Smith more time to learn the offense before making this a three way race. And as a side note can we please get someone to talk to the front office and stop hiring offensive coordinators who are horribly inexperienced, and thus suck (Hostler). Or those coordinators looking to make an improvement to a struggling team as a springboard for a future head coaching position (Turner, Martz).

    But like I said. If we spent all this time and money on quarterbacks only to start the season with O’Sullivan, then O’Sullivan better god damned well be Romo good. Or else we should just admit that Nolan knows dick about offense and can him.

  • Eric

    I agree. The Niners will be unwatchable with O’Sullivan as the starting QB. I really think Alex Smith will be the starter but he will struggle like you said because this is what seems like his 100th offensive coordinator he has had. Martz has a good track record with getting the best out of his QB’s and developing them…problem is, all of those QB’s had big playmaking receivers….the 49ers have Isaac Bruce just not the 2000-2001 version when he was a playmaker.

  • http://landryhat davedallasfan

    bruce will be priceless to you guys this year, not so much as a player, but more as a coach of sort. martz is much like that of fattass bill parcells. wherever he goes he brings “his” guys along to implement his system. well, bruce was the best, along with marshall faulk. i think that bruce will retire soon and then get into coaching. he’s a natural at it already. the perfect fit for smith. he’s level headed and patient, and can bring martz’s crazy ass scheme down to the level that smith can digest. give smith credit, they say he’s a brainy qb, so he may pick it up well. o’sullivan is just insurance as most of martz’s former players are. the 9ers have big $ stuck in smith and it’s still a cap world in the nfl. they’ll stick with him and, i think he’ll succeed.

  • Dan

    eric – martz then bruce!  whats next, horns over the sf logo on the helmets?  guess who?

  • Eric

    Ha! If only Marshall Faulk was still around the Niners would probably add him to the roster too. As far as the the SF logo with horns…we don’t need any Lamb, sorry, Ram horns on it. We bad enough without them! The real question is who will finish last in the NFC West this year.