Was there ever any doubt as to who was the right man to quarterback the 49ers this season? If there was, it sure seems like a long time ago.
J.T. O'Sullivan, the well-traveled career backup, has certainly found a home in San Francisco—at least early on. And there really is something about O'Sullivan, a former UC Davis Aggie, that may well endear him to the 49ers fanbase.
It wasn't just the win at NFC Western Division foe Seattle last Sunday that was impressive, it was how J.T.O. orchestrated the comeback. Down 14 early, the 49ers quarterback kept his team in the game by consistently converting third downs and managing to escape a menacing pass rush.
While he was sacked eight times, the number would have been much higher if not for the QB who considers himself a "tough sack." The fancy moves of O'Sullivan may actually remind some 49ers fans of Steve Young.
With the comeback reminiscent of many a Joe Montana performance, skeptics are quick to point out that J.T.O. is simply the product of Mike Martz' offense. After all, it was Martz who brought O'Sullivan to San Francisco from Detroit.
However, a lot of people felt Jeff Garcia was little more than a West Coast system standout, but he won a lot of games, and a lot of hearts in "The City."
Stopping short of crowning J.T. O'Sullivan the next Montana, Young, or Garcia with just two games (and a 1-1 record) under his belt as the 49ers starter, he definitely possesses some intangible qualities many San Francisco fans can quickly and readily associate with those former greats.
Poise under pressure in the pocket, nimble feet, a strong arm, and an attitude to never give-up on any play make J.T.O. the quintessential 49er quarterback. He even has a swagger to him, carrying himself with the aura that he should be the QB and there never was any offseason controversy.
If he lacks anything, it may be the leadership quality that not just Montana, Young, and Garcia possessed, but all great NFL quarterbacks have. But with each passing week—pardon the pun—we learn something new about the signal caller.
Suffice it to say, that particular quality rests within J.T.O. It has to. He's waited a long time to get this opportunity, and the passion he has for playing the quarterback position will be manifest as he leads the 49ers through a now wide-open NFC West.
And to everyone who still believes he's just a system quarterback, look at what that system made out of the one time AFL Iowa Barnstormer, Kurt Warner. Two league MVPs and a Super Bowl ring later, he's probably still the best quarterback in the NFC West.
That is, only until J.T. O'Sullivan throws a bunch more wins the 49ers way this season.
Is he the right man for the job? Yes. And not just for now.
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