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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
49ers Two-A-Day: Regrets on Hasselbeck

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Mike Greenberg learned his lesson picking the San Francisco 49ers to reach the Super Bowl last season.

The "Mike & Mike in the Morning" co-host has penciled in the 49ers for another 6-10 season after the team re-signed Alex Smith as its likely starting quarterback and parted with several defensive starters. Co-host Mike Greenberg has the 49ers doing slightly better, but both think the team would have been much better off signing Matt Hasselbeck instead of Smith.

The problem: Hasselbeck wasn't available to San Francisco before the lockout. The 49ers could not know for sure whether Hasselbeck would sign with them. They knew Hasselbeck had stronger ties to the Tennessee Titans, and to the Seahawks, of course. The 49ers did not know when the lockout would end. In the meantime, Smith was available to them at a reasonable price.

Smith and Hasselbeck were coming off similar seasons, according to QBR. That evidence and pure passing stats do not demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the 49ers would be far better off with Hasselbeck as a one- or two-year rental. But anyone watching Hasselbeck destroy New Orleans in the playoffs last season knows Hasselbeck can, at his best, play at a far higher level than Smith has achieved during six disappointing seasons with the team.