Mike Singletary invested everything on Alex Smith, from bringing basically no competition in David Carr, to allowing him to play through a horrible 1-6 start.
Mike is now hoping for a spark by Alex Smith to help lead his 49ers team into the playoffs by naming him the starter for this Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. A lot of 49er fans are furious (to say the least) about this move, but to me, it makes a lot of sense.
This does not mean that Troy did not do a decent job leading the team, because he did an excellent job in making sure we did not lose any games. Apart from the St. Louis game, where he looked like a Pro Bowler, he has looked mediocre at best. Yes, he does have a 3-2 record, but he is 0-2 against playoff-caliber teams. His completion percentage is hovering around 50 percent, which simply does not get the job done.
Mike Singletary said something very important in his news conference today by stating that due to the opponents the 49ers are playing, Alex would be the good man for the job. Let's take a brief look at how Alex has done against the Seattle Seahawks.
He has a 2-5 overall record, which is not very impressive, but two of those losses were during his rookie season and in one of those losses he had a QB rating of over 90 and threw for over 300 yards. In the two victories, his QB rating was over 100. Now, I know that looking at past stats will not ease the pain that Alex is actually back, but let's keep in mind that Seattle is a divisional opponent so the stats do have some relevance in this game.
Another factor to look at is the fact that Frank Gore is gone, meaning there is more opportunity for a spread offense, which we have all seen Alex excel in. Brian Westbrook can take some of the load off Alex by running out of the shotgun. Being more elusive than Frank, he has the ability to make the check-downs and screen plays more effective, and we all know that Alex does not shy away from the check-down receiver.
Yes, Alex is 1-6 as a starter this year, but we cannot place all the blame on him. Let's remember he had the 49ers in the game against New Orleans, Atlanta and Philadelphia, who are all playoff-caliber teams, but it was the defense that failed to come through against the Saints and Falcons (twice).
Now, this does not make it all better; the fact is that he went 1-6, and this is no reason to start Alex once again, but let's remember what Mike Singletary said. He said that due to the upcoming opponents (Seattle, San Diego, St. Louis, Arizona), Alex was the best option. Alex has also done well against the Rams and Cardinals in his career, the wild-card game here will be San Diego. Will Alex be able to pull out the victory against the Chargers on a short week, on national television? Mike Singletary better start praying right now.
Confidence is not something that Alex ever lacks, and in today's media session, it was no different. He was asked if he thought he was a good QB. He answered, "I believe I can make all the throws out in the field." I would have to agree with him, but can he also avoid the big interception that costs the 49ers the game? That I do not know, but we will find out soon enough or maybe this question has already been answered?
There could not be a more fitting end to the season. Mike Singletary going back to the QB that he trusted throughout all of training camp and the first seven games. Now we will see if that trust pays off with a win this Sunday and beyond.