2008 and 2009: A Year to Forget for Alex Smith
August 2008: With Nolan and Smith’s relationship strained, and the quarterback coming off shoulder surgery, he had to compete in training camp for the starting job. Smith would compete with quarterbacks Shaun Hill and J.T. O’Sullivan (I never thought I would type his name ever again) for the starting job. Smith was the second-string QB for the first two preseason games.
August 21, 2008: Nolan named O’Sullivan the starting QB for the start of the season, with Smith as the second-string QB. O’Sullivan was mostly named the starting QB because he was more familiar with new offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s system, but partially because of the bad relationship between Nolan and Smith.
September 10, 2008: Three days after the season opener, Smith was placed on injured reserve after his doctor confirmed a broken bone in his shoulder. At the time, it was reported a wire left in his shoulder from his previous surgery had sawed through the bone.
October 20, 2008: Mike Nolan is fired.
December 29, 2008: Mike Singletary is officially named the 49ers next head coach.
Final stats for 2008: Zero starts, zero everything.
2009: New Head Coach, Same Problems
March 10, 2009: Smith restructured his contract with the 49ers, taking a big pay cut to remain in San Francisco. Smith would have to compete with Shaun Hill for the starting job and the 49ers would have their fifth offensive coordinator in five years.
August 2009: Whether it was a lack of confidence by Singletary in Smith, or it was Hill actually winning the starting role, Smith would start the season as a backup for the second season in a row.
October 25, 2009: With the 49ers down 21-0 to the Texans at halftime, Singletary inserted Smith at quarterback to relieve Hill at quarterback who was playing terrible. Smith tied the game with three touchdown passes to Vernon Davis, but the team went down in defeat, 24-21. The next day, Smith was named the starting quarterback.
December 6, 2009: Smith throws for his first 300-yard game of his career in a 20-17 loss to the Seahawks. He threw for a total of 310 passing yards, two touchdowns and had a 95.6 QB rating.