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Mike Nolan still regrets not benching Alex Smith faster

Mike Nolan, Jared Odrick, Koa Misi

Kyle Shanahan and Donovan McNabb have nothing on the dysfunction that went on between former 49ers coach Mike Nolan and Alex Smith back in the day.  (And by “back in the day” we mean 2007-2008.)

Nolan is now coaching up an underrated defense in Miami, but he’s not above making a bad week for Smith a little worse.  Speaking about Lions quarterback Shaun Hill Thursday, Nolan went over one regret he had from his time in San Francisco.

“I always thought [Hill] was good,” Nolan said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.   “I would admit to making a mistake not making him a starter at the end. The last year I was there I should have [switched QBs] because he’s a baller.  . . . He checks it down. But he’s a guy the players trust will lead them to the end zone. That’s a huge factor.”

(Translation: Alex Smith is not one of those guys.  Or a baller.)

Nolan, like current 49ers coach Mike Singletary, was involved in a lot of drama when he was the 49ers coach.  His relationship with Smith soured badly by the end and it’s clear he wishes he cut the cord more quickly.

Singletary could be coaching his final days in San Francisco.   While Singletary decided to bench Alex Smith this week, he too may one day  regret choosing Smith over Hill.

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29 Responses to “Mike Nolan still regrets not benching Alex Smith faster”
  1. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Dec 23, 2010 6:03 PM

    What an A Hole. You thow him under the bus years later? How about you are a crappy head coach…no matter how well you dress. You are a coordinator, period.

  2. shnism says: Dec 23, 2010 6:10 PM

    i have to agree with other commenters. while i have been a big fan of the site for a long time, this constant having to open a new page to read the last few sentences of an article is ridiculous.

  3. jbibler says: Dec 23, 2010 6:14 PM

    It’s not like playing for an idiot like Nolan helped Alex smith get any better. I regret that the Niners didn’t fire Nolan sooner than they did.

  4. wcman says: Dec 23, 2010 6:30 PM

    Hey Gregg, you should really do some research before posting these things. It was JP O’Sullivan who was starting Nolans last year, not Smith. He was on IR with a shoulder injury.

  5. wcman says: Dec 23, 2010 6:36 PM

    That should’ve read JT O’Sullivan, not JP.

  6. ninerfan94954 says: Dec 23, 2010 6:36 PM

    Between Nolan and Singletary the Baltimore Lite version of the 49ers has been a disaster. We didn’t have a defense for the ages like the Ravens once had. Nolan and Singletary were both way in over their heads as head coaches in the N.F.L. Neither one of these two gents have a clue about offensive football. I hope that at the end of the season the second half of the Homer and Jethro show is sent packing. It would be nice to have a professional football franchise back in San Francisco. Agree with 1st remark on this thread… way to throw him throw him under the bus to cover up the totally inept job of coaching you foisted on this franchise. I see a Rich Kotite lifetime achievement award in Nolan’s future.

  7. hobartbaker says: Dec 23, 2010 6:37 PM

    For his part, Alex regrets not sucking even more than he did, so Nolan would have gotten fired quicker.

  8. jwbayarea says: Dec 23, 2010 6:40 PM

    The last year I was there I should have [switched QBs] because he’s a baller. . . . He checks it down. But he’s a guy the players trust will lead them to the end zone. That’s a huge factor.”

    The last year he was there Alex Smith was not the starter JT O’Sullivan was, I believe Alex was on injured reserve with a shoulder problem.

  9. tjacks7 says: Dec 23, 2010 6:42 PM

    more quickly or quicker?

  10. marvin49 says: Dec 23, 2010 6:43 PM

    Um…..The funniest part of this is that Nolan NEVER benched Smith. In fact, the only QB he ever benched for Hill was J.T. O’Sullivan.

    Wait…whats that? Nolan never mentioned Smiths name?

    Oh…I get it….the story isn’t well thought out and pretty much fabricated because its most likely Nolan wasn’t saying ANYTHING about Alex Smith.

    Good Job. Nice reporting. Try doing a little research next time.

  11. jwbayarea says: Dec 23, 2010 6:43 PM

    (Translation: Alex Smith is not one of those guys. Or a baller.)

    edit translation writer needs to check his facts a little closer next time

  12. mystereo says: Dec 23, 2010 6:43 PM

    Nolan sucked as head coach. He’s the defensive version of Norv Turner.

  13. puyi1028 says: Dec 23, 2010 6:47 PM

    Alex Smith was on IR all of Nolan’s last year in SF. JT o’Sullivan was the starter initially after “beating out” Smith and Hill in training camp, though it was pretty clear at the time that Martz kind of rigged the competition because JTO knew his system from being in Detroit the prior year. The title of this should be “Nolan still regrets not benching O’Sullivan earlier.”.

  14. hova87 says: Dec 23, 2010 7:15 PM

    I think these guys got it all wrong Alex smith wasn’t the starter nolan last year he’s talking about jt osulivan!!!!! I do agree though I thought hill should of started nolan last year he a good qb he just not flashy just like Kyle ortan Tim tebow pathetic he’s garbage that bible not going to help him between those lines…….. lol

  15. ninerdynasty says: Dec 23, 2010 7:15 PM

    Alex Smith is a coach killer.. he has gotten every OC and HC fired in the last 5 years. lets turn the page already!

  16. iamthefootballjerk says: Dec 23, 2010 7:26 PM

    Nolan makes himself look like the biggest fool. He clearly admits that he cannot evaluate offensive players.

  17. digg2000 says: Dec 23, 2010 7:28 PM

    Real professional. This’ll help you get another head coaching job down the line.

  18. deelron says: Dec 23, 2010 7:33 PM

    For being a baller it’s not like the 49ers offense was good under Hill either, even if he was a better player it’s putting lipstick on a pig.

  19. sf4916 says: Dec 23, 2010 7:40 PM

    Alex didn’t cost him his job, JT O’Sullivan did.

  20. Big M says: Dec 23, 2010 7:47 PM

    I know how much you guys hate doin research before you make posts, but Alex Smith never played in Nolan’s last season after only playing in a handful of games the season prior. He was on IR for most of ’08 and all of ’09. Nolan was referring to benching turn-over machine JT O’Sullivan in favor of Hill.

  21. ernieernie says: Dec 23, 2010 7:57 PM

    Alex Smith has a reallllllllllllllllll problem. He’s the white guy. Alex, only star quality white quarterbacks ( Brady Manning) survive when there is a black QB in the wings.

    Collins in Tennesee found that out when his receivers started dropping everything thrown there way until he was replaced by Young and then all of a suddent they couldn’t drop a ball.

    Alex your done baby.

  22. jhorton83 says: Dec 23, 2010 8:04 PM

    I still can’t believe there are people that are still defending Alex Smith. He sucks. He’s always going to suck. Being in the Bay Area, I’ve had to witness his god-awful performances for years. Enough is enough. You can keep blaming the coaches, but he’s never going to be anything more than a backup QB at best.

  23. jesterguy says: Dec 23, 2010 8:17 PM

    Nolan hit his level of incompetence as a HC. Now he blames others. Nolan didn’t bench Alex Smith in 08, Smith was on the IR, Nolan didn’t bench JT O Sullivan.

    In 07 Smith started 4 games before separating his shoulder and then rushed back too early and completely couldn’t play to which Nolan said he should push through the pain. Nolan didn’t bench the other backup, Trent Dilfer, that year either for Hill, Dilfer had to have a head injury in week 14 to force Nolan to put him in as a starter.

    Nolan as a HC had a penchant for blaming officials, players, press, etc…. for the losses, even now he recreates history to create a bogeyman for blame. Long story short, Nolan’s problem was simple, he rose to his level of incompetence.

  24. funkylovemonkey says: Dec 23, 2010 8:29 PM

    Nolan is an idiot, he wasn’t fired fast enough. Shaun Hill if anything is marginally better then Alex Smith. Hill has a QB rating of 78.6 with 11 TDs and 10 INT. Alex Smith has a QB rating of 79.2 with 12 TDS and 10 INT. HUGE difference. I guess he bought all the hype from delusional Lions fans.

    I hate Alex Smith as much as the next guy, but the problems the 9ers have had can’t be boiled down to Alex Smith. We’ve had a terrible O-line for almost a decade now, no secondary to speak of, and are just now developing a decent receiving core. I love Gore but he’s injury prone, probably because the team leans almost entirely on his talents to win a game. The few highlights of the last few years like Davis and Willis are partly highlights because they’re the only ones who step up and play every down on the team.

    We’ve had a string of bad coaches and bad personnel decisions. Nolan, just like Singletary, couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag.

  25. rajbais says: Dec 23, 2010 8:42 PM

    Nice way to get back into the head coaching ranks!!!

  26. peacherj says: Dec 23, 2010 9:04 PM

    Shaun Hill > Alex Smith > Troy Smith > JT O Sullivan

    Alex Smith = Jason Campbell + David Carr – Trent Edwards (David Garrard + Chad Henne) + Really Bad Luck

  27. jhorton83 says: Dec 23, 2010 9:28 PM

    The only reason Nolan went with O’Sullivan in ’08 was because he was Mike Martz’s boy. Nolan saw Martz as his last hope of saving his job, so of course he went with whatever QB Martz wanted. That obviously didn’t work out, although Martz seems to have saved Lovie Smith’s job in Chicago this year.

  28. ronaldmexico says: Dec 24, 2010 1:01 AM

    The 49ers should have pulled the plug on Alex Smith a while ago – nice of Nolan to make this point now, while concerning himself with important issues, like wearing a suit on the sideline, while he was head coach.

  29. chrisbermansdoublechin says: Dec 24, 2010 1:04 AM

    Nolan picked Alex Smith OVER Aaron Rodgers, so no matter HOW he tries to explain it, it comes down to Nolan having a HC job he should have NEVER had, the Yorks waiting at least one year too long, to FIRE his ass, & considering Smith was on IR Nolans last year as HC, his assinine comments in referring to Shaun Hill shows how much he still DOESN’T KNOW, when it comes to evaluating talent.

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