49ers still mum on starting QB for Sunday
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – The San Francisco 49ers still aren’t saying who their starting quarterback will be for Sunday’s pivotal NFC West game against the St. Louis Rams.
Even offensive coordinator Mike Johnson says he doesn’t know.
“We have not finalized that yet,” Johnson said Wednesday. “We’re still trying to figure that out. We’re practicing both guys, and that decision will be made later.”
Coach Mike Singletary said on Tuesday that he already had decided who would start between Alex Smith and Troy Smith but that “it’s something that I don’t really want to announce right now.”
A day later, Johnson said he had no knowledge of Singletary’s decision.
“I’ve been told that he wants me to practice both quarterbacks and give both quarterbacks reps in practice,” Johnson said. “I’m going to do exactly what I’ve been told to do. I’m going to make sure both guys are prepared to play. I’ve got to find a starting quarterback for the next four quarters. That’s the deal. I’m sure (Singletary) will let me know and we’ll decide and go from there.”
The team said it had no comment on an NFL Network report early Wednesday that Troy Smith has already been selected as Sunday’s starter. Singletary wasn’t scheduled to speak with the media Wednesday and declined a request to do so.
Alex Smith went 1-6 as San Francisco’s starting quarterback this season before separating his left shoulder during a Week 7 loss at Carolina. Troy Smith then took over and went 3-2 as the starter before the 49ers went back to Alex Smith two weeks ago.
Alex Smith is 4-1 as a starter against the Rams during his career. Troy Smith led the 49ers to a 23-20 overtime victory against St. Louis on Nov. 14, throwing for a career-high 356 yards.
The rematch in St. Louis this week can keep alive San Francisco’s hopes of winning the NFC West title and ending a seven-year playoff drought. The 49ers (5-9) need to win their final two games against St. Louis and Arizona to have a shot at the title.
Rookie running back Anthony Dixon, whose role in the offense has increased significantly since starter Frank Gore was lost for the season on Nov. 29, said the uncertainty at quarterback is not affecting the team’s preparation this week.
“It’s not difficult, because you’ve got to do your job first,” Dixon said. “The quarterbacks, they’re going to get their job done. I’m just worrying about doing my job right.”