After the 49ers were spanked in the preseason opener while getting less than stellar play from the quarterback position, it's prompted management to looking into acquiring a veteran as insurance, or quite possibly to compete for the starting job.
Last Friday in the Big Easy, Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick went a combined 11-26 for 127 yards, 2 ints. and 6 sacks. A near 60-yard field goal before half was the only scoring the 49ers would do all game. Smith played just a few series and it was Kaepernick's first taste of NFL action, and they both left a ton to be desired. Kaepernick looked alright on a few plays and showed his athleticism and ability to run with that 28-yard scramble down the middle of the field when the pocket collapsed on him. All in all though, he rushed too many balls and made too many bad decisions for the 49ers to even consider him as an option to start in 2011, at least early in the year. Not saying he won't eventually improve and become a legit starting quarterback, but I am saying it's going to take him a while, possibly a full season or more. His footwork needs attention as does his decision making but his accuracy and arm strength is there. So we now know that Alex Smith, who looked like the same old Alex Smith Friday night, is really the only NFL caliber quarterback currently in the mix. The 49ers are getting so desperate they even called Daunte Culpepper this weekend to get him in town for a tryout. At this point in the free agency period, there really isn't anybody of value at the QB position waiting for work. They had a chance early to bolster the position with someone like Vince Young or Matt Hasselbach, but decided against it. I'm sure they're probably kicking themselves right now for not being more proactive a few weeks ago in regards to the QB position.
As far as Culpepper is concerned, I don't know exactly how his audition went, but the 49ers have not offered him a contract yet, which tells me they probably weren't overly impressed. Another option they could look into could be a guy like Marc Bulger, who retired earlier this summer, but could reconsider with a shot at playing. I think at this point though, the 49ers best option would be to trade for some other teams backup. I really wish they would have made a play for Vince Young when he was free, cause for some reason, I could see him coming here and clicking with guys like Davis, Gore and Crabtree on offense. Another guy who's been talked about a lot this summer is Oakland born Josh Johnson, who's currently backing up Josh Freeman in Tampa Bay. The only issue with trading for a quarterback is that it will cost a draft pick, and the 49ers have not dealt draft picks for players at all in recent years. Since they're so far under the cap though, I think they may just wait it out over the next couple weeks and cross their fingers that someone who interests them ends up getting cut when rosters shrink. As far as the names still out there right now, just about the only guy who intrigues me is former Alabama star and Chiefs 3rd round pick Brodie Croyle. He's had injury issues and really fell out of KC's plan after they acquired Matt Cassell, but I really believe Croyle could do something if given a shot. He's certainly better than the 3rd string candidates the 49ers currently have and could push Alex for the starters spot. Some will shy away because he's never won when starting a game, but the 10 games he started was when KC was a laughing stock. I think he's ready for a 2nd chance.
Raider Watch: The Raiders played much better than their cross-bay rivals in their preseason opener. Oakland got exceptional quarterback play from all 3 of their QB's, and I bet Jim Harbough watched that game and wished he could have just one of the Raiders' gun-slingers. Trent Edwards, who I thought the 49ers would go after, led Raider QB's, going 10-19 for 139 yards and a TD. The Raiders did lose the game to the Cardinals, 24-18, but played without Darren McFadden and a few other starters and I think Hugh Jackson has to be pretty pleased overall with how the Silver and Black played. It already looks like the receivers are going to be an issue and I really think the Raiders need to pull out all the stops in order to get one of the few remaining decent wide receivers. I still think Terrell Owens would be a nice fit in Oakland, where it seems like star wideouts on the downswing of their career (Tim Brown, Jerry Rice) find a second wind. The need someone who could be a #1 and take pressure of the other guys while giving Jason Campbell a reliable target. As long as he gets his leg in shape, I think TO can still do just that.