Troy Smith will start, but will he finish?

Troy Smith will get the start.

And Alex Smith will come out of the bullpen?

Niners coach Mike Singletary began his press conference today by announcing Troy Smith will start at quarterback on Sunday at St. Louis. And he followed by saying both quarterbacks could see action.

In fact, he’s asked offensive coordinator Mike Johnson to tailor a game plan that allows for the possibility of both quarterbacks playing.

“I talked to Mike Johnson (and said) make sure that the game plan is conducive to both their strengths,” Singletary said. “So even though Troy is going to be the starter, just make sure that the game plan is such that we can possibly use both their strengths in this game.”

Singletary suggested it wouldn’t necessarily be a case of Alex Smith coming off the bench in the event Troy Smith struggles.

“The game will dictate it,” he said. “Depending on the situation in the game, depending on what they’re trying to do, if we can take advantage of what they’re doing, that kind of situation.”

After compiling a quarterback rating of over 115.0 in his first two victorious starts, Troy Smith struggled in his final three games before he was benched. Smith completed 48 percent of his passes and had a 60.0 rating in losses against Tampa Bay and Green  Bay and a win at Arizona.

On Dec. 8, in announcing Alex Smith would reassume the starting role, Singletary suggested defenses had seen enough of Troy Smith to effectively game plan against him, “Troy playing those five games that he’s been able to play, for now, there are more teams that understand that this is really what he does,” he said.

Today, Troy Smith disputed the notion that defenses began attacking him differently – and more effectively. But he conceded the way he read those defenses could stand improvement.

“Obviously as a quarterback everything with me is decision making,” he said. “My decision making could have been much better and I’ve always been my toughest critic with that.”

The Niners have made three quarterback changes since mid-November. And Singletary didn’t rule out another before the end of the regular season.

“It’s definitely Troy for this game,” he said. “That’s all I’m thinking about. And then we’ll see what happens.”

Alex Smith was not in the locker room today during the media availability and an interview request was unsuccessful.

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