Technically, 49ers QB job is Hill’s to lose

49ers quarterbacks Alex Smith (left) and Shaun Hill will be competing against one another for the starting job this offseason. (Associated Press)

49ers quarterbacks Alex Smith (left) and Shaun Hill will be competing against one another for the starting job this offseason. (Associated Press)

The quarterback competition in San Francisco between journeyman Shaun Hill and former first overall pick Alex Smith promises to be interesting, if nothing else. On the team’s final day of offseason practices before training camp on Tuesday, head coach Mike Singletary said while he’s looking forward to the competition for the starting job, it’s technically Hill’s to lose.

“Yeah, in principal I’m saying that, OK,” Singletary acknowledged. “But, as far as the competition is concerned, I just want to see both of those guys continue to compete. So, from that standpoint, you can say, technically, Shaun is the guy until proved different.”

Singletary should always get credit for answering questions honestly. But, in that honesty, there’s still a little left open for interpretation. While saying during the media session that no one was leading the competition, he also said that Smith would have to beat out Hill. Singletary’s most interesting answer, however, came when he was asked what he’s learned about his quarterbacks this offseason.

“I think the playing field is level now,” Singletary responded. “I think before the offseason really started, I wasn’t really sure where Alex [Smith] was. I wasn’t sure – he’s been through a lot in four years. I think in order for he and Shaun [Hill] to compete on level ground, he had to get healthy. I think he had to get his mind focused. I think he had to let go of some of the bitterness that’s 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’s happened. Very excited about that. So, he and Shaun, when we come back, it will be a great competition.”

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