Pickett back in the QB saddle

It looks as if Cody Pickett has earned another start at quarterback. Pickett did not put up great numbers against the Giants in his NFL starting debut on Sunday, but he had very little in the way of a supporting cast.

Pickett completed 12 of 21 passes 102 with one interception in the 24-6 loss. He also rushed five times for 15 yards.

Tight end Trent Smith dropped a perfect pass early in the game that would've given the 49ers the ball deep in Giants territory. The 49ers consistently found themselves in long-yardage situations on second and third downs.

Coach Mike Nolan said Pickett did nothing to get benched after one start. Pickett has had just one full week of practicing with the first-unit offense after entering the season as San Francisco's fourth-string quarterbacker.

"He certainly did nothing to take it away," Nolan said. "He did a good job overall. With the limited repetitions he's had up to this point, it was encouraging to see what he did do. He's only had two weeks at quarterback since training camp where he takes the whole practice."

Nolan did not rule out the possibility that Pickett could earn his way into the full-time starting role for the rest of the season. Smith is not expected back for at least another week. Pickett is more athletic than Dorsey, enabling him to get away from the inevitable pass rush.

"Right now we're uncertain when Alex would be back," Nolan said. "But if we have some consistency out of the quarterback play as we go forward, I won't be looking to switch back right away. The game we're coming off of will determine a lot of that."


--- Earlier this season, 49ers soft-spoken linebacker Derek Smith referred to former teammate Terrell Owens as a "bad apple." He said it was only a matter of time before Owens' divisive nature spoiled things for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Smith's words have come true. Owens trashed the Eagles organization and quarterback Donovan McNabb, in particular, last week during a televised interview. The Eagles have announced that they plan to deactivate him for the rest of the season.

So is Smith surprised with the recent developments?

"Not at all," he said. "It's just a matter of time."

--- The 49ers shifted out of punt formation to apparently run a fake with Rasheed Marshall under center in the second quarter with the ball at the 49ers' 40-yard line. But the 49ers never snapped the ball, instead electing to draw the Giants offside. The Giants did not jump. Even if they had, it would not have given the 49ers a first down, as it was fourth-and-7. The 49ers called timeout before the play clock expired to prevent a delay-of-game-penalty. Coach Mike Nolan said he tried the ploy just for the 5 yards of field position it would've gained and not with the purpose of going for it on fourth-and-2.

"We didn't get anything out of that for this game, but the next four opponents for sure are going to see that, and they're going to have to prepare for it," Nolan said.

--- Pickett last week became the fourth different starting quarterback in the last five games for the 49ers. The last time the 49ers started four quarterbacks in one season was 1974 under coach Dick Nolan. Current 49ers coach Mike Nolan was a ballboy on that team.

"I remember everybody fighting for a job and nobody good enough to have it," Nolan said.

John Brodie retired after the '73 season, and former No. 1 draft pick Steve Spurrier sustained a serious shoulder injury in the exhibition season. The 49ers' starting quarterbacks that season were Joe Reed, Dennis Morrison, Tom Owen and Norm Snead. The club finished with a 6-8 record.

--- CB Ahmed Plummer, the team's original starter at left cornerback, began running last week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his left ankle five weeks ago. There is a possibility he could return to action this week, but it would likely be as a nickel back.

--- CB Bruce Thornton has played well enough in his four starts at left cornerback that Nolan said Plummer, a sixth-year veteran, will likely not get his starting job back immediately after returning from arthroscopic ankle surgery.

--RB Maurice Hicks, who underwent arthroscopic surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus knee cartilage, will not play this week. He could be back as early as the 49ers' Nov. 20 game against the Seahawks.

--C Jeremy Newberry might not play this week against the Bears as he nurses a bad knee and two bum shoulders. Newberry said he needs to take a week of rest at some point in the season if he hopes to make it through the rest of the year.

--- WR Rasheed Marshall will likely stick as the team's punt returner even after Otis Amey returns from a high-ankle sprain. Marshall is returning punts for the first time after spending his college years as West Virginia's quarterback. Marshall returned three punts for 30 yards against the Giants.

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