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Posts Tagged ‘Shaun Hill’

49ers Quarterback Situation

Posted by davefowkes on 03/10/2009

The 49ers officially restructured the contract of quarterback Alex Smith. The new deal is reported to be a two year contract at a much smaller number than the $10-million he was supposed to make. The return of the former number one overall pick mean the 49ers have three quarterbacks under contract for the upcoming mini-camp and then the NFL draft. Bringing Smith back was wise, but the 49ers should not be done!

Shaun Hill is finally the man! Okay so maybe not, but heading into camp he certainly has to be favored to be the starting quarterback opening day. The career third stringer has had a pretty good run as a quarterback in November and December. Unfortunately because the 49ers are always out of it, his next meaningful game will be his first. Hill appears solid but certainly not flashy. He just seems to get the job done in an unspectacular manner. Of course that could be perfect for the new 49er offense which will be anything if spectacular.

Alex Smith still brings that big “p” word with him: Potential! I know the Niner nation is down on him for being a bust and a waste. You won’t get too much argument from me on that. But remember, at the end of his second year with Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator Alex Smith actual won some games for the 49ers. Remember the road win in Seattle? The undoing of Smith came first at the hands  head coach Mike Nolan and then with injury. He really hasn’t had an opportunity the last couple of years. It has been all classroom work and maybe, just maybe, that is what Smith needed the entire time.

Smith is saying all the right things today. He is talking about how this is a fresh start, and how he felt he has unfinished business. That is all well and good but the reality is Smith has very little value on the open free agent market and in San Francisco there is far from an established quarterback to compete with. This deal makes perfect sense for both the 49ers and Alex Smith. And if he can stay healthy, I would be willing to bet that he ends up starting some games for San Francisco this year!

That brings us to the number 3 quarterback. As previously stated in my blog, I think having Damon Huard on the roster is a waste of space. I stand by that. Sure Huard bring experience and is a nice guy. But the 49ers need to upgrade their quarterbacks in the short term and long term. And that can happen in the draft. The 49ers are set with Hill and Smith. Sure, they are not barn burners by any means but at least they will get themthrough this season. Now they need to start drafting mid-round quarterbacks in the draft until either Smith proves he is the real deal, or they find the right draft pick that does work out for them.  There are plenty of good quarterbacks in the middle rounds. Just keep drafting one until he works out. They might get lucky this year, it might take them a couple of years. But they have to start trying. Having Huard on the roster makes it much more difficult for a youngster to break in on the squad.

If Smith gets injured before the season starts, there will always be other Damon Huards of the world to sign to back up Hill. So, with that 3rd quarterback position the 49ers must look to the future. Because while the current team will survive with Hill, and may get a boost for Smith, the future of the 49er quarterbacking situation is very unclear! It is never too early to address it, and that should happen at some point in the 3rd, 4th, 5th or even 6th rounds of this year’s draft! Not doing that would be a major mistake.


Here is a great little post by Kevin Curtis of the Chronicle remembering the days of Eddie Debartolo and Bill Walsh. It will bring a tear to the eye of us old timers who remember the greatness of years gone past!


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Huard Is Wasted Roster Space

Posted by davefowkes on 03/05/2009

The more I think about the 49ers signing of Damon Huard, the more aggravated I get. In true 49er fashion what may be worse than the signing itself is the timing of it all.

Lets start with the timing first. The 49ers bring in Kurt Warner and do the full on dog and pony show with the veteran QB. Whether a contract was offered – potentially much larger than what Warner settled for in Arizona – or not we will probably never know. But for a few days it got discussion going and gave fans time to dream. Then the day Warner re-signs with Arizona, the 49ers announce a 1-year deal with Huard. Talk about pulling the rug out from the fan base.

As for Huard himself, he is a career backup QB that landed in the starting role for a couple of years in Kansas City with a mixed amount of success. So what are the 49ers expectations for him as he comes west?

Do they want Huard to be a starter? They pretty much have a QB with the same skill set on the roster that is five years younger in Shaun Hill.

Do they want him to be a backup? Why not go with Alex Smith as the backup, at least he still has that big “P” word called potential if he ever gets healthy enough to play.

Do they want him to be a camp arm and third stringer? Why not draft someone in the mid rounds that can at least hold a clipboard and maybe even develop into a good QB someday?

I would hope the cost of having Huard is minimal and I am probably making too big a deal of this signing, but right now it just offers no excitement at all, the timing was really bad, and it may just be a waste of roster space down the road.

UPDATE: Here is a great piece from on how the 49ers really blew the Warner negotiations and how the struggles of the “organization” continue!

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Quick Takes

Posted by davefowkes on 03/05/2009

More details later but I want to vent a couple of thoughts now:

–Terrell Owens has been released from the Cowboys! It could not happen to a nicer guy. Speculation will clearly link the bad boy to the Raiders image. But let me float this balloon: Randy Moss found happiness in New England. What about TO to the Patriots? How good a comeback could Tom Brady have with TO, Moss and Wes Welker as receivers?

–The more I think about the 49ers signing of Damon Huard the more upset I get. He is a waste of a roster spot! What does he add? His skill set is basically Shuan Hill plus about five years. Did he sign to be a starter? They might as well go with Hill. Did he sign to be a backup? They might as well go with Alex Smith. Did he sign to be an emergency 3rd option? They might as well go with a draft pick! Just a stupid free agent pickup in my mind!

–Cal is likely going to the Big Dance in March, but picking up a win in the state of Arizona would certainly confirm that ticket! If the Bears end the season on a three game losing streak, then get up set in the first round of the Pac Ten tournament, they could be in for a world of hurt. A win this weekend would end all speculation!

–It would be nice to see Stanford win on the road once. I don’t think they have a shot against the defense the Sun Devils will put out there, but maybe against a struggling Arizona team? Unlikely but it would be nice to see the seniors pull off one upset in a season of what could have been.

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Where Do The 49ers Turn Next?

Posted by davefowkes on 03/04/2009

Kurt Warner has signed with the Arizona Cardinals. The 49er nation can now either take a deep sigh of relief or bust out your tissues. The Warner dream is over. But what next?

The 49ers have Shaun Hill and Alex Smith on the roster and that is it. It is presumed that Alex Smith will renegotiate his contract and stick with the club, but that is far from a guaranty. Today there are reports that Damon Huard, formerly of Kansas City, was entertained in Santa Clara. Do the 49ers keep shopping for veterans?

My take is this, Sean Hill is an acceptable QB at best. Alex Smith still has the potential but until healthy and proves it on the field again, he will be a 2nd or 3rd string QB. The 49ers need to decide on a QB for now and the future. That was the beauty of bringing Warner in. They could start him this year and maybe next, draft a mid-round QB and start developing him for the future. So if the 49ers can get someone better than Hill for the right price, I say bring him in.

I don’t believe Damon Huard is that guy. He had a nice two year run in Kansas City but he needs to go be a backup somewhere else. I am intrigued by Jeff Garcia. There wont be a lot of passing in the new 49er offense so that could keep him healthier. I still like his mobility even at his age. And right now he still may qualify as the best QB the 49ers have had since he left.

I am not sure there are too many other older veterans that could fill the role for a year or two that would make San Francisco immediately better enough to put them into the playoff hunt. Byron Leftwich? Interesting idea I suppose but he does not excite me. Rex Grossman? NO WAY!

When the idea was first broached with me a few weeks back I laughed it off, but now with Warner off the table I am actually in favor of signing Jeff Garcia. But if the 49ers do not, I am not sure I would bring anyone else in. Especially if they are confident in the health of Alex Smith. I would go with Hill, back him up with Smith, and then I would start drafting QBs in the 3rd and 4th rounds for the next few years until I found one that I like. Even if they do sign a veteran I am a proponent of drafting a mid-round QB.

They already tried the first round QB approach with Smith, so I would pass on Mark Sanchez if he is still on the table at the #10 spot. I am not sold on Sanchez to begin with but even if I did like him, I just find so much more value on QBs in later rounds.

Hopefully the 49ers will pass on the all-exciting Damon Huard and either move on to Jeff Garcia or start looking at other free agents outside the QB position.

49er Notes: Backup RB Deshaun Foster was in Buffalo visiting with the Bills today. It seems unlikely that he will be back with the club next year and I would be shocked if the 49ers did not spend a 1st day draft pick on a RB to help shoulder the load with Frank Gore next year.

UPDATED POST: So of course 15 minutes after I post this blog, Matt Maiocco announces that Huard has signed a one-year contract with the Niners. Well, I will leave my thoughts on the subject above and respond to the signing tomorrow when we may have more details.

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