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A year ago at this time, the Niners' QB situation couldn't have been more muddled, with head coach Mike Singletary declaring an open competition for the job. A year later at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, Singletary was asked if former first-rounder Alex Smith had done enough as a starter replacing Shaun Hill in '09 to be considered the undisputed first-stringer entering this offseason.
"I feel very good about saying that Alex Smith is our starter going into the next football season," said Singletary. "The thing for me is I'm always going to use words like 'probably' and all those other things because I like competition. I like guys knowing that they're always going to compete. But I feel very comfortable in saying Alex Smith is our starting quarterback going forward."
Smith looked very impressive at times last season, particularly operating out of a spread/shotgun scheme, but he continued to have his share of growing pains. "The thing that hurt Alex more than anything is that he really didn't have a surrounding cast," Singletary said. "When he came in, he came into a tough situation. We had an offensive line we were building and trying to put together. We were trying to put a receiving corps together. I think there were a number of things there. Just the inconsistency of the coordinator — I mean, there were a lot of things that were not in place."
After switching back and forth between a power running attack and a pass-oriented spread/shotgun attack last season, Singletary was also asked if there was an actual offensive system in place for the Niners entering this offseason.
"I think this offseason, as we continue to go through it, there will continue to be a balance," he said. "It's smart for us to look at the things that we evaluate on film, and looking at the things Alex did well, and looking at the things our offense did well, looking at the things (starting RB) Frank Gore did well, and making sure we build on that."
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