Mike Singletary has finally declared Troy Smith the starter for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams. In what might actually be considered a strategic move on Singletary's part, the late announcement could have been designed to keep the Ram's guessing on which quarterback they should be preparing for this week.
After Troy Smith's fourth quarter performance against the Bronco's last week in London, fans have been clamoring for him to be the team's starting quarterback regardless of Alex Smith's health.
During the bye week, coaches studied film of Smith in order to develop a game plan that will play to his strengths. My first thought on that was why hadn't that already been done? Seems like if your going to pickup a player as important as a quarterback, you might want to do you homework first.
I understand the team has only so much time to claim a player on waivers, but still.
The 49ers will need to give the Rams some different looks as former safety Michael Lewis is now in the Rams' secondary. Lewis will certainly impart his knowledge of the 49ers defense to rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and the rest of the group. One only has to think back to the Seattle game to see how a team can use "inside information" to their advantage.
Ironically, the man who displaced Lewis in the starting lineup and caused him to leave the team and ask for his subsequent release, Taylor Mays, will be seeing less playing time.
Reggie Smith will be seeing more plays on defense, as the coaching staff believes Mays may be doing too much with his work on defense and special teams.
You would think the team would relieve Mays of his some his special team duties if that were the case. Mays has been burned deep several times in the last few weeks and perhaps the team is going back to their original plan with him, which is to bring him along slowly.
Takeo Spikes had voiced his displeasure about being removed from the field in nickel packages and acquiescing to rookie Navorro Bowman. In the last game against Denver, when the game was still in question, Spikes stayed in the game and made a huge fumble recovery on a strip of Denver quarterback, Kyle Orton, by fellow line backer Manny Lawson.
Perhaps the coaching staff is starting to realize that, although they have a few very talented rookies on the squad, a mix of veteran experience is necessary to close games out.
The team didn't put in a claim for either Randy Moss or Shawn Merriman last week. With Merriman limping off the field with yet another injury in Buffalo and Moss almost instantly "endearing" himself to the local Titan's media, perhaps it was the correct call.
In a move that went almost unnoticed, the team did claim linebacker Thaddeus Gibson off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gibson was a casualty of roster limits. The Steelers had to add depth to a depleted defensive line unit.
As reported by the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows earlier in the week, the Steeler's loss could very well be the 49ers gain. The Steelers have a track record of recognizing talent at the line backer position and they drafted Gibson in the fourth round in this year's draft.
Gibson was a pass rushing specialist at Ohio State and had an impressive scouting combine.
Alex Boone played with Gibson in high school and they were college teammates from 2006-2008.
"I played against him in high school. I played against him in college every day," Boone said. "I freakin' hated him because he is a shifty boy, I'll tell you right now."—source: Sacramento Bee
Boone went on to compare Gibson to James Harrison saying he was like a smaller version of him.
The team also said goodbye to a couple of practice squad players.
Jehuu Caulcrick was released and signed by the Buffalo Bills. The popular fullback had been released previously and re-signed as the team shuffled it's roster. The Bills placed Caulcrick on their practice squad.
Promising OT Matt Kopa was signed off the practice squad by the Miami Dolphins.
The 49ers practise squad now looks like this:
TE Colin Cloherty
QB Nate Davis
T Xavier Fulton
WR Kevin Jurovich
WR Lance Long
S Chris Maragos
DT Will Tukuafu
RB DeShawn Wynn