What's up at QB?

The 49ers' situation at quarterback is one of several up-in-the-air QB predicaments taking place in training camps throughout the NFL.

If the first week of Green Bay's training camp resembled something under the big top, Week 2 promises to be a full-fledged three-ring Barnum & Bailey extravaganza when Brett Favre reports -- apparently to "compete" for the starting job against Aaron Rodgers.

It's very difficult to imagine Favre not being the starting quarterback for the Packers' Sept. 8 season opener if indeed coach Mike McCarthy opens the job for competition less than a week after staunchly standing by Rodgers. Can anyone seriously envision the Packers taking the field for their opening Monday night game at Lambeau Field, with Favre scuffling over to the sideline to don a cap and clipboard in front of a national audience against division-rival Minnesota?

While McCarthy clearly has the most publicized situation unfolding, several other coaches are preparing for their preseason openers with unsettled quarterback situations:

--- After insinuating on the first day of training camp that Alex Smith and Shaun Hill were competing for the starting job, late last week 49ers coach Mike Nolan said the battle is actually a three-man race. Enter J.T. O'Sullivan, who has impressed in the early stages of training camp in large part because of his knowledge of offensive coordinator Mike Martz's complex offense. The two were together in Detroit last season.

--- Dolphins czar Bill Parcells can talk all he wants about not being disappointed in the trio of Josh McCown, John Beck and Chad Henne, but the team actually brought in former Cowboy and Arena League quarterback Quincy Carter for a workout. While Beck continues to struggle and McCown makes too many throws into coverage, Henne appears to be closing ground with a strong, accurate arm and good grasp of the offense.

--- After a slow start to training camp, Kellen Clemens appears to be getting back into the race for the Jets' job. Clemens cut down on his interceptions during practice, and continues to display the far superior arm strength to Chad Pennington.

--- Kyle Orton received a strong welcome from the crowd at the Bears' night practice at Soldier Field on Aug. 1, while Rex Grossman took the field to mixed reaction. Orton then outperformed Grossman during the evening session.

--- Falcons coach Mike Smith is expected to wait until after the second or third preseason game before choosing between veteran Chris Redman and rookie Matt Ryan. Joey Harrington? He's battling for a roster spot against D.J. Shockley.

--- Rookie Joe Flacco is still in the race in Baltimore, but Kyle Boller has been the most consistent while second-year man Troy Smith is coming off a strong week of practice. Flacco appears to be a long-shot to be the Week 1 starter.


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