They have the 2005 top draft pick, QB Alex Smith, on their roster. Smith is currently listed first on the depth chart. But the fact is that J.T. O’Sullivan has quarterbacked San Francisco as their starter for the entire preseason. What does that mean? Will O’Sullivan, a five-year vet with very little experience, lead the team instead of the highly touted Smith?
O’Sullivan was signed to a one-year deal amounting to less than $500,000, while Smith is under a multi-year deal worth over $9 million per season. This was supposed to be a make or break year for Smith, but it may have already gone broke for the young QB.
For O’Sullivan it has been a long road in the NFL. He’s been on numerous teams since entering the league in 2002, including New Orleans, Green Bay, Minnesota, New England, Carolina and Detroit. In that time, he’s appeared in six games, throwing 26 passes and connecting on 13 (50%). He’s thrown one TD and two picks, while earning a QB rating of 48.2.
In three seasons, Smith has played in 32 games. He’s completed 435 of 800 throws (54.4%), earning a rating of 63.5. The former first-round pick has tossed 19 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. He’s also fumbled six times, losing four.
If the San Francisco 49ers do go with O’Sullivan, it may be out of desperation as coach Mike Nolan tries to put a winner on the field now by going with the guy he perceives as being ready to win. In three years at the helm, Nolan is 16-32. That means that time is running out for the Frisco head coach.
Things are a little tense in San Francisco right now. There are a few careers riding on Nolan’s decision, including his own.