Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer watches fourth-stringer Nick Mullens take a rep during 49ers training camp in Santa Clara. (Jacob C. Palmer/S.F. Examiner)

Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer watches fourth-stringer Nick Mullens take a rep during 49ers training camp in Santa Clara. (Jacob C. Palmer/S.F. Examiner)

New season is here, but same ol’ QB quandry remains for 49ers

Are you ready for some football?

Sure. Of course. Next question …

Now are you ready for some Santa Clara football?

Meh, Balls neither.

Kinda hard to get excited about a team that has asked Brian Hoyer to call the shots at the most important position on the field, no questions asked.

We’re talkin’ about soon-to-be 32-year-old Brian Hoyer here, he of the career 16-15 record and 84.3 rating.

There should be some sort of competition for the top spot this preseason. Except that general manager John Lynch also brought in retread Matt Barkley and wasted draft pick C.J. Beathard who figure to apply as much pressure as the Santa Clara pass rush. Admittedly, that’s just the way Hoyer wants it, which is all you need to know about his fragile confidence.

Hoyer is a serviceable backup on a playoff team, a slight upgrade over Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert on a bad one. When you consider that the Faithless witnessed some of the worst quarterback play imaginable a year ago, a mannequin might be as productive if less mobile.

True, Hoyer has served time with the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears, where careers go to die. Still, there’s a reason why the guy has played with six teams in nine seasons.

The good news is, the organization can opt out after one season. So Hoyer may be here only long enough to keep the seat warm for veteran Kirk Cousins, as speculation persists.

The fact that Cousins and Washington still haven’t agreed to a long-term contact suggests they’re still not sold on one another. Not only does Cousins have a history with coach Kyle Shanahan, but Santa Clara can meet his contract demands, which put it on the short list of potential destinations.

Yet the Cousins-Santa Clara marriage is far from consummated.

What if Cousins and Washington return to the playoffs after a one-year absence, for example? Could happen. Cousins will be 29 years old before the 2018 season rolls around. Would he leave an organization in which he had made a six-year investment to sign with another in the early stages of a colossal rebuild? If the Redskins were to slap a third-consecutive franchise tag on him, think he could live on a guaranteed $34 million for one season?

Furthermore, would Santa Clara want to devote so much of its salary cap on a player in his early 30s, one whose first season or two could be wasted with a predominately young team that’s not ready to contend.

Or is the draft the longer-but-wiser route to take here?

The Class of ’18 is said to be loaded at the QB position. Heck, the Philadelphia 76ers might even tank their season to get potential first-rounders Josh Allen (Wyoming), Sam Darnold (USC), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Josh Rosen (UCLA) or Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State). If Santa Clara blows enough games — and it won’t have to try very hard — it could have the pick of the litter. Whoever he is would have time to grow with those around him.

See, the more things change at Levi’s Stadium, the more they remain just the same.

REST OF THE STORY: After Gabbert completed 11-for-14 pass attempts for 185 yards in his Arizona Cardinals debut, coach Bruce Arians said, “He was throwing to the right guys, and those were big-time throws.”

Hey, the game is a lot easier to play when a quarterback has a real coach in his ear, a real go-to receiver (Larry Fitzgerald) to throw to and a real feature back (David Johnson) to hand the ball to — even in practice.

JUST SAYIN’: There will be a rally for Kaepernick in New York later this month. The event flier misspelled his last name, which lowered his QB rating by one-tenth of a point.

Movie director Spike Lee denied that he coordinated the event. Too busy fixin’ the New York Knickerbockers, apparently.

YOUR TURN: “While the Dodgers have won four division titles, it’s not impressive when you consider in one they failed to go to the second round and in the other they got to the NLCS but lost. The Giants have won one division title and won the World Series and they’ve gone to the wild card twice and won two World Series. What team has a better pedigree? As I always argue with Dodgers fans when I go to Los Angeles, you guys win the division, the Giants win the World Series. What!” — Art Alcantar, San Francisco

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to pladd@aol.com, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.

brian hoyerColin Kaepernickmatt barkleynfl training campSan Francisco 49ers

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