When the San Francisco 49ers first signed Josh Johnson the first words that came out of some fans' mouths had to do with Johnson being our starting quarterback over Alex Smith. If I were filling out one of those "On a scale of one to five, with one being strongly agree and five being strongly disagree" forms and had to respond to the public outcry, I would have written in a six and circled that. Smith was to be the starter from day one - well except when they were pursuing Peyton Manning - and until he proves he doesn't deserve to be, he shall remain the starting quarterback.
I don't say any of this as disrespect to Johnson and what he brings to the 49ers. I like Johnson and what he did in limited time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Which is why he will make an excellent second string quarterback for Smith - should he earn that position. I'm glad that Johnson has an opportunity to train and play near his roots (he was born in Oakland, CA), but that doesn't mean he'll automatically be slotted into the backup quarterback role.
In my opinion, he does have the advantage over Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien having played for Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego. Needless to say, there will be somewhat of a quarterback competition, just not for the starting role. Unfortunately, it would be highly unlikely for the 49ers to carry four quarterbacks, meaning the team will have to part ways with one before the season starts.
Even with all the Colin Kaepernick fans that the 49ers' fan base includes, I'm not too sure that his spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster is 100 percent safe. While I admit that Kaepernick has the potential to be a great quarterback, I don't think he's played enough NFL snaps for me to say anything too prolific about him. He should remain on the roster however, given his upside.
Tolzien, on the other hand, I followed throughout his college career. He could become the odd-man out and end up on the 49ers' practice squad if they extend that option to him - and he accepts that. Tolzien has, what I feel, to be tremendous upside as a pocket passer. His tape from college shows a quarterback with a smooth release and is a very accurate passer, even on the run. Given the opportunity I'm sure Tolzien will turn into a serviceable NFL quarterback at some point in his career.
At this point in time, I'd have to grant the backup role to Johnson. Simply because he is an NFL veteran and has played for Jim Harbaugh, so he knows what to expect and can adapt much quicker to what Harbaugh wants out of his quarterback,
Food for thought: Will Johnson be the 49ers' backup quarterback, or will it be Kaepernick or Tolzien? Does any one of them have a chance of unseating Smith from his starting role? If Smith performs sub-par in 2012, how many games before Harbaugh makes a change at quarterback?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
49ers.com. Josh Johnson Enjoys Working Environment. NFL 2012.
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