Last year’s man under center Shaun Hill has to be wondering what he has to prove to be named the starter outright. In 2007 after Alex Smith and Trent Dilfer went down with injuries the next man on the roster was Hill. In a December 2007 game against the Vikings Hill came in to replace Dilfer who was knocked out with a concussion. At that point in the game the 49ers offense was non-existent. I attended the game and I remember being more worried about how I was going to get my next beer the outcome of the game. Then a man named Shaun Hill entered the game wearing lucky number 13. I thought Shaun who? Nevertheless I didn’t care who he was because he got the 49ers offense kick started. Hill finished the game going 22 of 27 pass attempts for 181 yards and one touchdown as the 49ers lost the game. The 49ers won the next two games Hill started and he missed the last game of the season because of an injury. Going into the 2008 season the 49ers resigned Hill to a three year contract but he was not named the starter. Someone named J.T. Duh! Sullivan was named the starter because he had been with Mike Martz in Detroit. Apparently Hill is bad at practicing which is another reason why O’Sullivan was named the starter. If it wasn’t for Alex Smith re-injuring his shoulder in training camp Hill would have been number three on the QB depth chart. We all know how the rest of 2008 went with O’Sullivan and the man who made him the starter Mike Nolan getting the boot. After that with Hill as the starter and effective the 49ers finished the rest of the season 5-3. Hill is 7-3as a starter. How has Smith done as a starter? He has an 11-19 record.
To Smith’s credit he dealt with Nolan and his lack of coaching leadership especially when Nolan called out Smith saying he was not hurt as bad as he was saying. Also Smith restructured his contract to stay with the 49ers. A wise move on his part because no other team wanted to pay the remaining portion of his contract and San Francisco is the only place he has a realistic although small chance of competing and winning a starting job. If the 49ers released him he would probably still be a free-agent as there are still plenty of QB’s on the market that have proven at the very least to be more effective as a starter than Smith. I think GM Scot McCloughan still believes in Smith and his potential. But the 49ers don’t have the time for him to continue to develop. The Red and Gold need a proven QB as a starter.
In the end Hill will be named the starter. He doesn’t have the prettiest footwork for a QB and may not be good at practicing but he leads the 49ers to wins. He is at his best with the short routes which makes the selection of WR Michael Crabtree all the more better. Crabtree is at his best running the short routes in tight coverage where he can make a move around defenders. He is not known for his speed (which is why Al Davis passed up on him) but Hill is not known for his deep throwing arm, so a perfect match? In the end whether it is a big name starter like Tom Brady or a lesser know starter like Dilfer leading your team to the playoffs and the Super Bowl is all that matters, right?
Tags: 2009 Season 49ers Quarterback Al Davis Alex Smith J.T. O'Sullivan Michael Crabtree Mike Martz Mike Nolan Quarterback Competition San Francisco 49ers Scot McCloughan Shaun Hill Tom Brady Trent Dilfer