Coach Mike Singletary placed most of the blame on the 49ers' offensive line when asked about the struggles in the passing game the day after the team's loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
But today during his opening remarks to the media, Singletary expressed for the first time that he expects better play from Shaun Hill. Might this mean that Alex Smith should be ready for his big chance?
"Our quarterback, Shaun Hill, he knows he's going to have to do a better job, and he will," Singletary said. "I just think that this week, there should be some things starting to come together offensively in terms of continuity and communication and those things. This is the sixth week going forward, so I'm very excited about the opportunity at hand."
Later, I read Singletary's quote back to him and asked if this was an indication that backup quarterback Smith was still in the picture. Singletary went on to say Hill is the starting quarterback and nothing is going to change . . . well, until it changes.
This is exactly what Singletary said, and you can draw your own conclusions:
"Alex Smith has never been out of the picture. It's as I said way back when, whoever the starting quarterback is going to be, that's the starting quarterback. I don't want him looking toward the sideline wondering if we're going to take him out if he's not playing well. We have to decide that as a staff, when I sit down and talk to (offensive coordinator) Jimmy Raye. Right now, we feel that Shaun Hill is our guy. We haven't looked at Alex Smith and said, 'Wow.' This is who we have. This is who we brought to the dance and we just have to see how it goes. At no time are we thinking about, 'Why don't we do this for Alex Smith.' We have Shaun Hill. That's who we are, and until that changes, that's what it is."