Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

28 Oct 2010

Niners To Start Troy Smith At QB

Alex Smith is going to miss Sunday's game in London against Denver with a separated shoulder, and the alternative choice is David Carr, so why not?

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 28 Oct 2010

45 comments, Last at 01 Nov 2010, 12:01pm by bravehoptoad


by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:33pm

I'm hard-pressed to think of the downside of Not-David-Carr at this point.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:38pm

I don't know if Troy Smith is going to be any good, but I bet he makes the game a lot more watchable.

It seems like he has some promise as a pro QB, and never really got a fair shake in Baltimore.

by ChaosOnion :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:48pm

The game still seems like it will be a stinker. Has the NFL ever had a game at Wembley that was not a stinker?

by Anonymous Jones :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:56pm

Well, Chargers-Saints two years ago was an exciting game between two teams with talent (though middling W-L records at the time). I'd be hard pressed to label that one a stinker.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:57pm

Chargers-Saints in 2008?

by andrew :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:58pm

According to an obscure law, David Carr would have had to throw left-handed in London.

by spenczar :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 4:08pm

Coudldn't have made him any worse...

by Dan :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 4:52pm

As long as they make him throw it.

by Pied :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 9:56pm

Not obscure to any brit who has his own carr..

by andrew :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 2:39pm

If Kenny Britt had his own Carr, he too would be obscure.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 4:09pm

As a Broncos fan I'm saddened by this. Smith is a relative unknown - bad for gameplanning, assuming that is a part of McDs week schedule.

There are just QB's that manages (through luck or good career decisions) to get far more starts than their talent warrants. On the other hand; guys like Kubiak or Sorgi etc. might be better QBs than a guy like Smith, Derek Anderson, Seneca Wallace etc. but they were backing up HoF'ers so we'll never know.

I don't think the game will be a stinker - sloppy, sure, but probably fairly even.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 4:23pm

bad for gameplanning, assuming that is a part of McDs week schedule.

Hilarious! I'm totally stealing that.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:47am

Smith has gotten more starts than his talent warrants? Dude, he's started 2 games in his entire career. I thought your post was going great and that your point would be that "at least with Smith now we'll get to see what he's got".

I agree with Tuluse above, I think Smith deserves a chance and I'm curious to see how he does.

by tuluse :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:52am

I think he was referring to Alex Smith in that post, while Troy Smith could be the good QB on the bench.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 4:39pm

We have ample Week 17 evidence that Jim Sorgi should never start anywhere in the National Football League.

by zlionsfan :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 9:01pm

um, what? He was serviceable in 2004 - the game probably would have gone better if the Colts had been able to run the ball. In 2005, he was decent with the #2s.

In the second half in 2007, he wasn't very good. His 2008 start was good enough.

I might be missing something, but I don't see anything here that says Sorgi should never start anywhere. Now, if you want to make the case that Curtis Painter should never start anywhere, I'll happily support you on that.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 5:43pm

Carr shoudl be put in junkyard. Guyy is Edsel QB of 2000s

by Keasley (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 6:03pm

Troy Smith? Ok, now I understand why they made no effort to trade for Donovan McNabb in the offseason.

I imagine Niners fans are now having flashbacks to when Steve Young replaced Joe Montana.

by coboney :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 6:26pm

No the only thing we're having flashbacks to is 06 right now.

Really, I hope Troy Smith shows something but I'm not expecting it. He'd have to try really hard though to be worst than David Carr.

by Thok :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 6:24pm

So why not?

It's really a question of whether to play Nate Davis or Troy Smith.

And really, it's a question of whether Troy Smith is enough to back up one of Andrew Luck/Ryan Mallet/Jake Locker

by the cat in the box is dead (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 6:41pm

So why wasn't Troy Smith the No.2 Qb before? Took him a while to learn the system? Or is the backup Quarterback for the 49ers actually just always a motivational bargaining chip in Mike Singletary's system?

by dbt :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 7:02pm

Because there's a difference between what a guy can do with a week's preparation and what a guy can do coming into the middle of a game with no prep time with the receivers? As bad as David Carr is, he probably spent more time with the #1 team in training camp and once you're in the season there's not much time to get practice reps with your offensive starters and #3 QB.

by the cat in the box is dead (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 7:17am

Fair point. To be honest, I was just trying to contrive a dig at Mike Singletary, more than anything else.

by Gus (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 7:02pm

I really wouldn't be surprised if Smith was decent. I thought he was a solid, albeit not great prospect before his draft stock plummeted so much in that loss to Florida in the BCS title game. I'm not saying he's starter-worthy, but his brief looks in Baltimore were pretty okay especially considering how badly the team was playing. And yeah, like me, he's probably better than David Carr.

by peachy :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 8:51pm

As I recall, Russell and Quinn also saw their draft status shift significantly as a result of their bowl game that year (a "head-to-head" matchup in the Sugar.)

by Gus (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 9:58pm

Yep. Everyone suddenly thought Russell was better. Well, not everyone, but it was a big shift.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 10:18pm

Jokes on them, turns out they both suck.

by Mort (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 7:57pm

I really hope the Troy Smith experiment turns out well. Thanks to some bad luck with a tonsil infection, he never a real opportunity in Baltimore. Alex and Carr have had far too many chances at this point. Might as well hand the ball to someone who might actual have some potential.

(My loathing for Big 10 QBs is offset by my love of Black QBs and for former Ravens. So in that respect, it's a wash.)

by JimZipCode :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 9:02am

Troy Smith may turn out to be a QB Singletary really likes. Smith has a lot of leadership qualities. The black players on the Ravens really rallied around him. (On his first pro TD, 3 yrs ago, seemed like every black player on the Ravens sideline made it a point to go over to him and slap hands or pound his shoulder.) He has some playmaking skills.

He's really short, which is a drawback. But he can play a little, and Singletary likes leaders.

As a Ravens fan, I wish him luck.

by Chocolate City (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:31am

How do you feel about Tony Banks?

by Gus (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 10:00pm

Yep, suddenly Quinn wasn't as good as Russell. Though that point seems fairly moot as of now.

by Chris UK :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 7:19am

Cleo Lemon vs Eli in 07 and now troy smith vs neckbeard, we do get spoiled with top qb play in the wembley game :)

by RichC (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 8:12am

Neckbeard is actually pretty good at this point.

by Living in Kyle's Orton (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 8:59am

Quick! Dial up the Jarvis Moss blitz packages, hopefully flashbacks to the BCS Championship will leave Smith entirely unable to function.

by PTORaven :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 1:16pm

If it's a foggy game I bet Smith runs for at least 91.44 metres. i haven't quite figured out how weather works in the UK, but I assume it's foggy all the time, and so Troy should have a good game.

on a side note, i applaud the NFL for figuring out how to give one team home field advantage when both teams are 8000km from home...by making the home team the only american NFL city that also deals with near-constant impenetrable fog.

by RickD :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 3:19pm

I don't quite know how London got a reputation as a foggy city. I lived there for two years and didn't see fog once. (Nor did any spunky orphans address me as "guv'nor".)

My guess is that the word "fog" was a euphemism for the soot in the air back when London was the first industrialized city.

On the flip side, the reputation for rain is reasonably well deserved.

by t.d. :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 4:44pm

The series Mad Men references the fact that London isn't particularly foggy. The association comes from the clothing line 'London Fog', and it was indeed a euphemism for soot from the industrial revolution

by tuluse :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 4:52pm

It's pretty easy to see where this stereotype comes from. Take a euphemism for smog, add a city where it rains a lot, mix in about 10000 movies where King Arthur rides into/out of the fog. Now sure most of those foggy locations were probably Wales or Cornwall or something, but London is the most familiar British location.

by BJR :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 6:08pm

As a UK fan I'd like to see them play the London game a little earlier in the season. It's supposed to be a showcase, so they might as well try and get it in before it is absolutely guaranteed to be dismal weather. Plus, if it was only week 4 we wouldn't know for certain that we were watching two abject also-rans.

by David :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 1:12pm

Agreed - it happens later in the season to minimise the time delay thing (starting at 5pm local instead of 6pm - this is the only weekend that it can happen and still start at 1pm eastern)

by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 11/01/2010 - 12:01pm

I don't quite know how London got a reputation as a foggy city.

It's a Victorian-era holdover, when there was a lot more coal burning.

by zenbitz :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 5:46pm

doubly ironically - Candlestick is in the part of SF that is fogged in the latest and where it burns off the earliest. I can't remember the last time a Niners game actually had fog. Clouds? yes? Rain? yes? crappy turf? absolutely? Swamped parking lot? Yuh uh. But it's rarely fogged in.

I think part of that is that the Fog around here is actually more of a Summer phenomenon. I can remember some foggy baseball games there, including one where a pelican swooped on 1st base!

Also 90% of NFL games are played at 1:00 pm local time, which is pretty much the least foggiest time of day.

by Scott C :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 10:09pm

Yeah, fog is a summer thing in SF. 8 of 12 weeks or so in the May-July time frame will be overcast until noon. But its usually a hundred to 500 feet or more above sea level so only really affects visibility and is truly 'fog' in the hills and tall buildings, or western side of the city.

Tourists show up in June thinking it will be warm and sunny, and end up with overcast, windy, 58 degree weather. Then they get confused by the fact that quite frequently in the summer, half the city is cold and under clouds and the other half is sunny and much warmer.

by tuluse :: Sun, 10/31/2010 - 6:04am

"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco"

~Mark Twain (I believe)

by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 7:46pm

I don't know what's become of him talent-wise in the last little while, but troy smith in his time with the ravens was simply nothing special. If they thought he was worth anything, he'd still be there. Instead, they've got a washed up marc bulger.