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J.T. O’Sullivan Ends The Debate PS W3 SF 37 @CHI 30
August 22, 2008, 6:23 pm
Filed under: 2008 Preseason, Games | Tags: , ,

There. I said it. J.T. O’Sullivan has officially ended the debate in my mind. O’Sullivan’s performance against the Bears was relatively short, but important. He showed that he has the ability to make the throws required of him, from a perfectly placed lob over Vernon Davis’ shoulder on the sideline, to immediately following it up by scrambling right, setting his feet, and firing a 37-yard bullett to Jason Hill in the End Zone for a Touchdown. It was a throw that made me rub my eyes and ask myself if I had just seen that.

This is still preseason, and there is a lot of football to be played yet this season. Alex Smith missed some throws, had some dropped, and got down on himself as he seems wont to do often. He appears to be more trusting of the system with every game, but also has more incomplete passes each time out. Now that J.T. O’Sullivan has been officially named the starter for the season, there is some pressure removed from Smith to go out and just do the job he needs to do.

I recently posted some less-than stellar predictions, and though I was impressed with O’Sullivan’s outing, my enthusiasm is tempered. He did make some mistakes early on, but also improved after that horrid first quarter against Green Bay. Since that second quarter, O’Sullivan has been 12/15 for 240 yds and 2 TDs for that coveted 158.3 rating. Let’s look at the total stats for all three quarterbacks.

O’Sullivan
20/33 351 yds 60.5%, 10.6 avg, 2 TD, 2 INT, 91.85 rtg

Smith
16/38 196 yds 42%, 5.1 avg, 1 TD, 0 INT, 67.43 rtg

Hill
18/32 164 yds 56%, 5.1 avg, 0 TD, 1 INT, 57.29 rtg

I like seeing O’Sullivan improve as time goes on. The Bears did run a lot of zone defense, but that is more because they were getting gouged by the 49ers’ run game. The run game impressed me the most. If the 49ers can keep running the ball like that, then obviously things open up for the passing game.

It remains to be seen how the team is going to perform when we get into the regular season. We can trust that Mike Martz knows how to prepare an offense for a game, and now that the ridiculously distracting Quarterback Competition is behind them, the team can focus on getting down to the final cuts, and getting the starters ready to take on the Cardinals.

J.T. O’Sullivan so far has proven to be capable of handling the media and their pedantic lines of questioning, has shown the right attitude in just doing what he has to do, and also engaging with the rest of the team on the sidelines, including the two quarterbacks he has been competing against. He’s showing that he is a team player, and is also proving himself invaluable in the huddle. Jason Hill reported that O’Sullivan said, “Get behind the safety and I’ll get it to you,” basically telling his receiver the goal of his route and following up with a great throw.

Now that O’Sullivan has the full confidence of the coaching staff, and full support of his teammates, it will be interesting to see what that confidence boost will do for him. Ultimately, it will be fun to see what this does for this team. Depending on my mood, maybe I’ll change those predictions! ;)

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