San Francisco 49ers: Who Will Be the No. 1 QB for the Team in 2011?

MattContributor IDecember 17, 2010

Ben Chappell
Ben ChappellJamie Sabau/Getty Images

Writing post game from Thursday night's supposed game.  

After getting thrashed 34-7, the 49ers have fallen to 5-9—though amazingly, they are still in the division race.

To make it simple: If the 49ers win out and the Rams and Seahawks lose two of their three remaining games, there will be a three-way tie for the division and the tie-breaker between division teams is division record which would give the division to the 49ers, with a division record of 5-1.

Crazy pathetic is the NFC West. So, not that I'm looking ahead—well, okay, yes I am.

With all the talk of the "Fire mike Singletary and bench Alex Smith" talk, it got me thinking: Alex Smith is a Free Agent at the end of the season, so if he doesn't return who takes the reign?

The Free Agent market is well, in the quarterback position is mush at best.

Let's take a look anyway.

UPDATE: Mike Shanahan has benched Donovan McNabb for the final three games. He is now Grossman's backup and may possiblly be the third string QB.  McNabb signed a 5 year extension in mid November but the contract allows for the Washington to release Donovan McNabb at the end of the season with now further money due.  

So now, it looks pretty likely that they will release McNabb and he will be a FA.  The question becomes what teams go after Donovan?  Arizona? San Francisco? If the 49ers are serious about the division, they already have Gore in the backfield. Bring in McNabb and his familiarity with Westbrook. 

Oh wait, what's that? McNabb trains in Arizona and wants to play for Arizona?  Yes this may be true. But since Singletary si not gone yet, if he can get McNabb to come to SF with his Chicago ties. 

Do the 49ers look to sign McNabb?

Do the Cardinals try and sign McNabb?

Peyton Manning: You're sure he's going to stay in Indy? Even with the subpar season they are having? Are you sure?  

Well, one would think of course, the Colts are not going to let him test the FA Market. Though Peyton himself may want to test the waters, it's doubtful he'd pick the 49ers, unless they offer him tons of money.

Keep in mind, the 49ers, while they'll have money to spend, they have a LOT of FA to try and re-sign if they want most of the defense they need, if I remember correctly.

Brett Favre: Yes, he's a FA; yes, he'll retire and the end of the season.  

But will he stay retired? Who knows.  

So, will he come to SF? Unlikely. Firstly, he loves the NFC North. It will be another year in Minnesota or no more Favre. 

Michael Vick: Yeah, I know Vick is a FA at the end of the season. The QB is so hard to contain; he is one of the more mobile QBs in the league if not the best running QB. On top of that he is deadly accurate and his arm is like a slingshot.

So the Eagles will keep him right? Not necessarily. Kevin Kolb was named the starter a few times this season and was solid in back up duty, not great but solid. Reid was adamant that Kolb was his starter, but Vick has been hot and it's hard to deny why he shouldn't stay the starter.

But at the start of the season, the Eagles wanted a younger team; Vick at 30 is four years Kolb's senior.  

Imagine a Vick and Westbrook reunion in SF? Highly unlikely but it's fun to imagine.  

The rest of the QB FA list is pretty much back up mush. So that means you draft a QB right? NO!  

If we know anything about the NFL, is only every once in a while does a top draft pick work out they way you want or more. But after the Alex Smith draft debacle that most associate No. 11 with, I'd be weary of drafting a QB.  

Especially when the 49ers should be the team atop the division. So, what do you do?

The best option is promote within.

Troy Smith so far is 3-2 in his five starts. He's shown leadership, he's mobile and he can throw the ball down the field. I also just found out that he doesn't know the whole playbook! Really?  

With a whole offseason to work on the playbook and get first team snaps, one would assume he could only improve.  

Just one problem: He's also a FA at the end of the season and he might just be able to get a guranteed starting job elsewhere (Arizona?, Buffalo? Cleveland?!).

So does he stay? If he's guaranteed to be the Starting QB, I'm pretty sure he will, otherwise he'll probably see what's out there.

Other options: 

Keep Alex Smith: I know, let the reason why he shouldn't be kept reign in. I'm not sure I like this idea anymore than anyone else. But he's got very little value on the market, he's inexpensive and if you switch Troy and Alex, Alex is a decent backup option.  

Besides, the SF higher up's haven't shown any signs in letting him go yet—in worse seasons—why now?  

Though Alex may test FA options, some team may test him as a starter.  

Jeff Garcia - Yeah, he's still the UFL.

The 40 year old in his first two games had 509 yards and two TD's. He had a good run in the Bay Area. Maybe he could have a return to glory with San Francisco.  

At the very least, he's a better back up than Carr. I'd also say Alex Smith, but I think Alex is a bit more mobile than Jeff and well...younger.

Ben Chappell - You might be saying who? Well, if a team is going to draft a QB, I'd draft Ben Chappell from Indiana.  

I doubt the 49ers would get Cam Newton, Andrew Luck or Jake Locker. And if one is weary of taking a top draft pick, then I'd draft further down and get the rest of the team locked up.  

In his last two seasons at Indiana University, Chappell has passed for 6,236 Yards. (2,941 in 2009) and (3,295 in 2010). Is 570/911 in comp/attempts—that's a 62.5% Completion percentage. He has an two season QB rating average of 129.47, 41 TDs and 24 INTs.  

His career stats are 7,251 Yards, 45 TDs with 28 interceptions. Yeah, the INTs are a bit high, but the TD/INT ration is still a +17.

Oh and by the way, he's 6'3" and 239lbs. He's also got that Leadership ability.

If the 49ers guarantee Troy Smith that he'll be the Starter at QB, they should be able to sign him. But that's a big "if" and depends on who the HC and OC will be.  

I know people will say fire Mike Singletary, but the 49ers have been shifting coaches and offensive coordinators like musical chairs, and it has not done much good. So, do we want to shake up that mess again? The coming 2011 season will be Coach Singletary's third full season as HC, that's usually the year a coach gets going.  

What would I do? Keep Singletary for one more year, promote Troy Smith as starter, Alex Smith Back up, draft Ben Chappell (in case Troy Smith finds a new home) and find a new OC and run amok in the division. 

My Prediction: Alex Smith stays. He's shown standing tough through adversity. Why would he walk away now?  

Why would the 49ers organization let him go now when they haven't in the past and he has very minimal value on the market,, though someone may offer him something, but I think he'll stay.  

Coach Singletary may or may not stay; it depends on what happens in the last two games: If the 49ers win out and make the playoffs, he'll likely be back next season. If they miss, then it's up in the air, but I still think York will give Mike one more year, well at least one more year, game-to-game.

For Fun:

If the 49ers were to draft a top draft QB prospect who would I pick? From the few games I've seen of the top draft picks and guess that the 49ers will finish no worse than 5-11, meaning they'll probably be in the top 10 picks but not first three.  

So, if he's available, I'd pick Ryan Mallett. At least Mallett, at 6'6", there probably will be less knocked down passes.

If they do fire Singletary who do I think they should hire? Jim Harbaugh, John Gruden, Urban Meyer? Well, Gruden is staying with ESPN through the 2011 season.

Harbaugh has been offered numerous College Football jobs including Michigan, Miami, and an extension with Stanford.

Miami's coaching position is filled.  

Michigan is sitting pat right now on what to do with Rich Rodriguez.  

So Harbaugh will either stay with Stanford or if San Francisco comes calling, he might just answer it. But don't hold you're breath.  

So I say go against the grain, go with someone fresh and new. Who? K.C. Keeler.

Keeler the Head Coach at the University of Delaware is 160-62-1 in his career as a collegiate head coach. Keeler succeeded famed and legendary Head Coach Tubby Raymond and that wing-T offense with the new spread offense. If putting on as HC right way feels too risky, hire him as Offensive Coordinator.

Oh, wait there's just that small issue of getting him to want to leave his Alma mater and buying out that pesky 10-year extension he signed with Delaware a couple seasons back, but hey, it could be doable.


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