49ers' backups more productive than starters

August, 29, 2009
8/29/09
8:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Rookie quarterback Nate Davis, rookie running back Kory Sheets, and backup receiver Micheal Spurlock likely are not going to help the 49ers in meaningful ways this season. They did help the 49ers during their exhibition game Saturday night.

Davis rallied the 49ers in the second half. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 132 yards. He found Spurlock for a 35-yard gain, setting up Sheets' winning touchdown run.

The game was not televised in my area and I will not offer observations until I watch the NFL Network replay Sunday. But I do think we can say this: The first-team offense was not productive, starting with quarterback Shaun Hill.

As Hill said during the game, according to the 49ers: "I would have liked for it to have gone a bit smoother than it did. I don't know. You can't tell a whole lot right now. I just wish we could have put a few more points on the board."

Hill completed 9 of 17 passes for 79 yards, or 4.6 yards per attempt. I know offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye has said running back Frank Gore is the most important member of the offense, but teams generally must throw the ball efficiently to win meaningful games. Hill did miss practice time during the week after experiencing back soreness. That did not help.

More broadly, how much evidence have we seen suggesting the 49ers are developing momentum in their passing game this summer?

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