I miss Alex Smith

After watching 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan spend another afternoon being sacked almost any time he wasn't throwing an interception or fumbling the ball, I miss the good old days when No. 1 pick Alex Smith was lining up under center.

OK, that's a little bit of an exaggeration but Sunday's 29-17 loss to the Giants represented another shovel of dirt on coach Mike Nolan's professional grave.  The 49ers are 2-5 and showing no signs of improvement.

I'll admit that expecting the slumping 49ers to hand the defending Super Bowl champs a loss in New York is a tall order right up there with expecting John McCain to upset Barack Obama in November's presidential election — it's just not going to happen.  But the sloppy play and deliberate effort to not hand the ball to running back Frank Gore is another example that the 49ers just aren't being properly prepared to win every Sunday.

A basic part of every game plan for the 49ers should be handing the ball to Gore at least 20 times.  He's the best player on the team, period.  If that means O'Sullivan gets fewer opportunities to throw the ball, great.

As a full-time starting quarterback O'Sullivan is terrible and there's just no getting around that fact.  Unfortunately, the only other quarterbacks on the roster are uninspiring backups Shaun Hill and Jamie Martin.

That's a major problem with this franchise: There's nowhere to turn within the roster or front office for any signs of hope or improvement.

Benching O'Sullivan doesn't solve the problem that the 49ers don't have a legitimate starting quarterback.  It doesn't solve the problem that they don't have a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver and it doesn't solve the problem that offensive coordinator Mike Martz has never had the common sense to run the ball, even when doing so would help close out a win.

Handing Nolan his walking papers doesn't really solve any major problems either.  The front office, led by Scot McCloughan doesn't inspire any confidence.

Gore is a player worth building around and the pieces for a very good defense are in place, but the rest of the franchise needs to be burned to the ground so a new coach and front office can build the franchise up again.

The scary thing is that John York will have to make all of these calls which means it's just a matter of time before the 49ers need a clean break from another incompetent coach and general manager.


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