Hill’s leadership could be the difference for 49ers

It’s still very early in camp, but some people in the San Francisco 49ers organization believe that veteran Shaun Hill’s superior intangibles might be what sets him apart from former first-round pick Alex Smith in the team’s ongoing quarterback competition.

This battle could go to the end of camp — and the first real test comes Friday in the preseason opener against the Broncos — but according to some in San Fran, privately, Hill’s command of the team could be the edge.

“He’s taking to the QB role as a leader,” one team source said. “He’s more vocal.”

Hill led the 49ers to a strong finish in 2008. There’s a sense among some veterans that he looks more the part, but there are also a lot of people in the organization rooting for Smith, as so much has been invested in him, and he has more upside. This often isn’t a game where potential carries the day, though, and in a division that should be wide open, one would think the here and now would be foremost on coach Mike Singletary’s mind.

Singletary noted yesterday he hasn’t decided on who will start Friday.

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