49ers QB Battle Will Rage Nearly All Preseason

Can't wait until 49ers full-squad training camp opens July 30, so we can finally resolve the quarterback situation and get on with our lives? Forget it. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, coach Mike Singletary confirms that he'll let Shaun Hill and Alex Smith duke it out and not declare a starter until the third preseason game.

So this training camp quarterback battle will continue until week three of the preseason, Aug. 29 for the Niners' first trip to that new billion-dollar playground of the Dallas Cowboys. Coach Singletary even initially said he'd not decide for sure until after the game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, but then hemmed slightly and said he'd prefer to decide prior to the third preseason game.

This doesn't look like Nolan-esque indecision so much as it looks like a deliberate motivational tactic. And if there's one thing Samurai Mike does well, it's motivational tactics. He won't let Shaun Hill get comfortable at being the incumbent with the winning record. He won't let Alex Smith get comfortable at thinking that a few sharp OTA's could blow this whole thing open. He's jibing each guys' competitive juices, hoping for them both to produce and accepting the risk that a quarterback controversy could grow out of the fight.

You've heard that cliche football phrase that "if you say you have two quarterbacks" so many seasons lately that hearing it again might make you want to go out and shoot yourself in the leg with an unlicensed handgun. But Coach Singletary seemed to be paraphrasing that sentiment rather specifically. And he was pretty forward with the less-flattering "don't have one" part that goes at the end of that old saying.

"One of the things I feel very strongly about is one of those guys is going to take us where we need to go," Singletary told the Chronicle. "I have two quarterbacks I feel very confident about. I don't have one great guy. I have two good guys and somebody is going to step up and the next guy has to be ready."

I don't know that I've ever heard a coach admit that he didn't have one great guy in his quarterback stable. Singletary may, in fact, actually have a great guy -- but he's not going to give that guy the satisfaction of actually hearing those words from the coach's mouth. Motivational tactics.

Coach Singletary has his plate full enough going into his first full season as a coach with a new offensive coordinator and a new defensive coordinator. He's not shying away from yet another challenge in a fully open, competitive quarterback battle.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us