SANTA CLARA, Calif. – There will be no quarterback change for the San Francisco 49ers this week.
Even though he was booed Sunday night, was almost pulled from the game by his coach and made two horrendous turnovers in the team's fifth consecutive loss, Alex Smith is staying put.
Coach Mike Singletary announced his decision on Monday, saying he decided to stick with Smith after meeting with the beleaguered quarterback for more than a half hour following the 49ers' 27-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Candlestick Park.
"I want to see Alex give himself a chance to be a good quarterback," Singletary said. "I just think he does a good job and then he starts pressing. When that happens, bad things happen."
Bad things have been happening all season. The Niners are off to their worst start in more than three decades, but that didn't prevent team president Jed York from sending a text message to ESPN's Adam Schefter declaring the team would win the NFC West.
York must not be aware that no team that started 0-5 went on to make the NFL playoffs, let alone win its division. But that's the hole the 49ers must climb out of starting this week. They play the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
It was a chaotic situation that took place Sunday night, with backup QB David Carr warming up and putting his helmet on, Singletary and Smith involved in an angry exchange and tight end Vernon Davis trying to act as both peacemaker and Smith supporter.
"I just remember Vernon telling me to put my helmet back on," Smith said. "That was basically it, but obviously he was making the point he wanted me back out there. I wanted to be back out there, no question about that."
If anything transpires from the incident, it's that a new, more aggressive Smith may emerge from all this. At the very least, he knows things can't stay the same.
"There are times out there when I know that I play too cautious," he said. "I think that's when I find myself making those mistakes. It's funny. It's counter-productive, so you'd think playing cautious would lead the other way, but in me, it always has. You see at times when I cut it loose and play more fearless (that) the results have always been better."
Smith led the 49ers on two fourth-quarter scoring drives after his fumble had led to a 52-yard TD return by Eagles safety Quintin Mikell. After talking his way back into the game, Smith led drives of 52 and 69 yards to bring the Niners to within seven points.
"When he went back in, I don't think he pressed," Singletary said. "I think he really played more true to who he is. I think he threw the ball clean. After the conversation we had on the sideline, he forgot about all the other stuff and just went out and played quarterback. He went out and played football."
Still, this doesn't mean Singletary won't consider changing quarterbacks in the future. Asked if he would evaluate the position and the starter on a week-to-week basis, he said, "I think from this point on you have to do what's best for the football team. As I continue to watch him, as the staff continues to watch him, I think he knows where we are. We're all being evaluated right now at 0-5. He knows what he has to do, and we've just got to get there."