NFL Notebook: San Francisco goes back to Troy Smith as QB
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The San Francisco 49ers are going back to Troy Smith as their starting quarterback while leaving open the possibility they might switch to Alex Smith at any time.
Coach Mike Singletary said Thursday that Troy Smith will start a pivotal NFC West Division game Sunday against the St. Louis Rams in place of Alex Smith, who started San Francisco's past two games.
Singletary also said he wouldn't hesitate to change quarterbacks during the game if the situation calls for it.
"We could possibly use them both," Singletary said. "The game will dictate it. Even though Troy is going to be the starter, we're making sure that the game plan is such that we can possibly use both their strengths in this game."
The 49ers have changed quarterbacks after each of their previous two defeats in an attempt to salvage a losing season. At 5-9, San Francisco still has an opportunity to capture the NFC West title and end a seven-year playoff drought by winning its final two games against St. Louis and Arizona.
Troy Smith, who didn't join the 49ers until Sept. 6, has remained focused throughout the week on his second chance as San Francisco's starter. Troy Smith went 3-2 in his five games as a starter earlier this season after taking over for Alex Smith in late October. Troy Smith had a career-high 356 yards passing to lead the 49ers to a 23-20 overtime victory against St. Louis on Nov. 14.
"This is huge for me," Troy Smith said. "For any player to be able to play in a game of this magnitude, be a part of something special, it's going to be pretty big for all of us. The knick-knacks and the other little things that are going on around us, we're definitely channeling that out and worrying about winning this game."
The 49ers went back to Alex Smith two weeks ago after Troy Smith completed just 10 of 25 passes in a 34-16 loss at Green Bay. Alex Smith had statistically the best game of his career the next week in a 40-21 victory against Seattle, but he and the San Francisco offense could muster only 192 total yards at San Diego.
Quarterback Brett Favre missed his second consecutive day of practice and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said his quarterback is still showing symptoms from a concussion. Frazier declined to rule out Favre for a game Sunday night against Philadelphia.
Also, cornerback Antoine Winfield was fined $7,500 for a hit Monday night on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Coach Rex Ryan said quarterback Mark Sanchez's sore shoulder is worse than he first thought, though he still expects Sanchez to start Sunday at Chicago. Sanchez was hurt against the Steelers. Mark Brunell would get the start if Sanchez can't play. Sanchez was limited in practice for the second day in a row and "never had a ton of zip" on his passes, according to Ryan.
Tight end Antonio Gates likely will sit out the final two games of the regular season to rest his injured right foot in case San Diego makes the playoffs. Gates has missed the past two games and four of six with a painful tear in his right plantar fascia.
Seattle placed defensive tackle Junior Siavii on injured reserve after he had a neck stinger last week against Atlanta.
Pro Bowl linebacker Elvis Dumervil was cited for assault and disturbing the peace for an alleged run-in with a security guard at Invesco Field. Denver court records show the reported incident happened Oct. 24, the day the Broncos were blown out by the Oakland Raiders. Dumervil forgot his credentials and a guard wouldn't allow him into a players' parking lot, despite Dumervil showing his driver's license.
Also, Denver placed kicker Matt Prater on injured reserve. Prater has missed the past two games with a groin injury. Steven Hauschka has filled in, connecting on 5 of 6 field goal attempts in games two games.
Kansas City met NFL requirements to avoid a local TV blackout for a game Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs said Wednesday that a blackout was a possibility, with slow ticket sales for a game expected to be played on a very cold day.
First Published December 24, 2010 12:06 am