Since 2008 when Aaron Rodgers took over as the starting quarterback for Green Bay the 49ers have played Rodgers twice. We all know how the 49ers had the opportunity to either draft Rodgers or Alex Smith and how that decision has worked out. In the last two seasons instead of headlines like “Packers Lose to Rodgers and 49ers” we see the title of this post as the headline. Many things contributed to the 49ers being 4-8 in the weakest division in the probably all of sports this season. A lot of it all started with selecting Smith over Rodgers but even decisions since then have made the situation worse which led to the false hope that the 49ers were back to being contenders this season. Hiring Mike Singletary as head coach was a good move but Singletary’s selection of coaches after his hiring and most notably his firing of coaches have made the non-drafting of Rodgers only worse. Instead of hiring good coaches who would challenge Singletary and his vision, he hired coaches who would not say much and went a long with his game plan for the week. The biggest mistake was firing offensive coordinator Mike Martz who has transformed Bears quarterback Jay Cutler from an interceptions throwing machine to a Pro Bowl quarterback. Martz has made it work with all of the quarterbacks he has coached and I can only imagine what Smith might have looked like had Martz stayed on. Singletary hired the only man who would go along with his vision of an offense running 60% of the time who was Jimmy Raye. The other six coaches interviewed for offensive coordinator did not want to go a long with Singletary’s vision knowing how unsuccessful it would be in today’s NFL.
Even if Rodgers was drafted by the 49ers who knows what kind of success he would have had given everything Smith has had endured since 2005 with weak offensive lines, hardly any receivers to throw to and being thrown out to the wolves as a rookie quarterback. Rodgers had the luxury of developing for three years on the bench with Brett Favre as his mentor. I think Rodgers would have succeeded where Smith has failed even with the same exact situations. Rodgers has a sense of calmness and confidence when he plays. Smith only has a sense of calmness with hardly any confidence at quarterback. The main reason why I think Rodgers would have succeeded with the 49ers is his time in college running a pro-style offense at UC Berkeley. While Rodgers was running his offense Smith was at the University of Utah running the spread offense.
The loss on Sunday to the Packers I think all but seals Singletary’s fate at the end of the season and he will be fired. Singletary does not care who is at quarterback as long as the team plays smash-mouth running football. The 49ers saw some success with a healthy Frank Gore this season although all defenses had to do was stop Gore and the 49ers offense would come to a stop. With Gore out for the season more pressure fell to starting quarterback Troy Smith to make plays on Sunday. His stat line of passing was 10-for-25 for 194 yards and no touchdowns. Clearly he is only a plug-in fix and not a franchise quarterback the 49ers need. The thunder and lightning that was forecasted in Green Bay never showed up as running backs Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon combined for 18 rushes for 65-yards. Gore can accomplish those numbers in his sleep. Twice on Sunday the 49ers were inside the Packers’ 10-yard line, could not score and settled for two field goals.
Now with the loss and Singletary on the brink of losing his job he will turn back to Alex Smith as the starting quarterback for one last hurray down the stretch for both of them with the 49ers. Singletary and Smith will be gone from the 49ers at the end of the season and who knows where their NFL career’s will go from there. The only thing that is certain is Aaron Rodgers will continue to lead the Packers to playoff contention each season while 49er fans can only think what if every time we see him throw for a touchdown.