Onus on Smith to win job from Hill

Coach Mike Singletary says the 49ers are still playing catch-up to some of the elite teams in the NFL.

Yet, after the 49ers organized team activities wrapped up today, Singletary said he is more confident than ever that the 49ers have the personnel to be a division winner, playoff team and, possibly, go deep into the playoffs.


“No doubt in my mind – none,” Singletary said. “I don’t even blink at that. No doubt in my mind.”


So what makes the 49ers behind the elite teams?


“What makes (us) behind is having several different (offensive) coordinators in the past few years,” Singletary said. “What us makes us behind is not knowing exactly who the quarterback is. What makes us a little bit behind is not knowing exactly who the No. 1 receivers are. So, yes, that puts us a little bit behind. And you got a new head coach, that puts us a little bit behind.


“There are a lot of unknowns up to this point. When the other teams – whether it be a Carolina or whether it be an Arizona or a Dallas – they’ve known for a couple three years, ‘This is who we have; this is who we are; this is where we’re going.’ “


Obviously, the biggest issue facing the 49ers with training camp set to open in about six weeks is the quarterback situation. Alex Smith showed some real improvement during the past couple weeks and has an opportunity to win the starting job over Shaun Hill, Singletary said.


“When the offseason started I wasn’t really sure where Alex was,” Singletary said. “He’s been through a lot in four years. In order for he and Shaun to compete on a level ground, he had to get healthy. He had to get his mind focused. He had to let go of some of the bitterness that happened to him; some of the bad things and get the bad taste out of his mouth and be ready to go. I think that has happened. I’m very excited about that.”


Based on the competition that has taken place during the past several months of this offseason, Singletary said neither quarterback distanced himself from the other. But, mostly based on the most recent game performances, Hill has an edge.


Q: Is Shaun still leading the competition?

Singletary: “I don’t think anybody is leading the competition right now. I never heard anybody say Shaun was leading the competition.”


Q: Didn’t you say at the beginning of the offseason that Shaun was . . . ?

Singletary: “Yeah, OK. In principle, I’m saying that. As far as the competition is concerned, I want to see both of those guys continue to compete. From that standpoint, yes, you can say that technically Shaun is the guy until proven differently.”


Q: So it’s up to Alex to win the job from Shaun?

Singletary: “Yes.”


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