No smoke and mirrors this time 'round for the 49ers, and no question as to who will be starting at quarterback. With no rotation planned or any last-minute trickery, Alex Smith will be taking all the snaps under center for the 49ers on Sunday. Citing experience and nothing more, Tomsula named Alex the starter this morning. This past Sunday, Smith came in with ten minutes left in the fourth quarter after Troy Smith threw a bad interception and almost matched his full-game stats in that ten minutes, but it wasn't enough and the 49ers lost, and with it, eliminated from the NFC West playoff race. They were never in the wildcard race.
Alex will come in and make the start, and probably do a lot of damage to the Cardinals in his final start of the year, maybe the final start of his career with the San Francisco 49ers. It would be fitting, and maybe the new coaching staff will like what they see and bring him back, much to the chagrin of many 49ers fans.
The other big news out of the Jim Tomsula press conference is related to linebacker Patrick Willis, who recently had another operation on his right hand and will miss the first game of his four-year career. Willis was recently elected to the 2011 Pro Bowl, and may not play due to the procedure. Rookie NaVorro Bowman will be making the start in his place, and the team signed Alex Joseph, a rookie, from the Panthers practice squad to practice and play for the final week.