Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Mike Nolan still regrets not benching Alex Smith faster

Mike Nolan, Jared Odrick, Koa Misi

Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan runs players through drills during NFL football training camp, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010, in Davie, Fla. Players are linebacker Koa Misi, left, and defensive end Jared Odrick. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


Kyle Shanahan and Donovan McNabb have nothing on the dysfunction that went on between former 49ers coach Mike Nolan and Alex Smith back in the day. (And by “back in the day” we mean 2007-2008.)

Nolan is now coaching up an underrated defense in Miami, but he’s not above making a bad week for Smith a little worse. Speaking about Lions quarterback Shaun Hill Thursday, Nolan went over one regret he had from his time in San Francisco.

“I always thought [Hill] was good,” Nolan said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I would admit to making a mistake not making him a starter at the end. The last year I was there I should have [switched QBs] because he’s a baller. . . . He checks it down. But he’s a guy the players trust will lead them to the end zone. That’s a huge factor.”

(Translation: Alex Smith is not one of those guys. Or a baller.)

Nolan, like current 49ers coach Mike Singletary, was involved in a lot of drama when he was the 49ers coach. His relationship with Smith soured badly by the end and it’s clear he wishes he cut the cord more quickly.

Singletary could be coaching his final days in San Francisco. While Singletary decided to bench Alex Smith this week, he too may one day regret choosing Smith over Hill.