Spander: Let’s hope there’s good reason 49ers want Carr 

Sifting through the tea leaves or the sack numbers, whichever makes more sense, there’s no conclusion yet to be drawn from the arrival of David Carr as the 49ers’ newest quarterback other than the fact Shaun Hill is about to become the 49ers’ newest ex-quarterback.

Presumably Mr. Alex Smith remains the Niners’ starter when the season begins in September, although in the highly volatile NFL, presumption often is about as reliable as a receiver with bad hands.

Only three years ago, the Carolina Panthers signed Carr, who was a free agent, and Panthers coach John Fox insisted Jake Delhomme was his unchallenged starter. That was until Delhomme was injured and Carr became the man.

There are all sorts of fascinating connections in this tale, which would make a great screenplay if it doesn’t necessarily make the Niners a better team.

Carr, from Fresno State, was the first overall pick in the ’02 draft by the then-recently created Houston Texans. This means, along with Smith in ’05, San Francisco has the very first guy drafted from two different years, both quarterbacks.

When the Texans waived Carr, and the Panthers signed him, Carolina, which had taken Julius Peppers, then held the 1-2 selections from 2002.

Peppers, of course, was just waived, as was Delhomme. Easy come, easy go.

As a rookie, Carr set an NFL record, being sacked 76 times. Last year, Aaron Rodgers of the Packers was on pace to break the record but ended with a mere 50. Carr’s quarterback coach for a while at Fresno was one Jeff Tedford, who was Rodgers’ head coach at Cal.

Probably just a coincidence.

Unlike the comments from Niners Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, who, hearing the same rumors we did about the possible acquisition of Carr, tapped out on his Twitter account, “I’m saying if we going to go get another qb spend money on a difference maker. Like [Michael Vick]. My opinion. We have three qb’s that are better than [Carr]. That’s a waste of time.”
Willis’ time wasn’t wasted in typing a hasty apology. “I heard that Carr had signed. He’s my teammate now. Which means I’m all for the guy.”

The guy who last season backed up another overall No. 1, Eli Manning of the N.Y. Giants.

Carr can get the ball to the right people if he can stay away from the wrong people. In 2006, he completed 68.3 percent of his passes, fat lot of good it did him with the Texans, who didn’t renew his contract.

Once Niners coach Mike Singletary replaced Hill with Smith during — interestingly considering all this — the game against Houston late last October, Hill was finished.

There were some who speculated with Nate Davis, now in his second year destined someday to be No. 1, Smith might also be.

But we move too quickly.

The Niners’ offensive line still is a work in progress, or regress, and if and when Carr plays, he certainly will be familiar with the situation, not that he hasn’t been blameless.

In the 89 games of his career for three different teams, Carr has been sacked 265 times and fumbled 70 times. But the Niners want him, and there must be a reason. You hope it’s a valid one.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and E-mail him at

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Art Spander

Art Spander

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and Email him at
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