Singletary confirms 49ers to start Troy Smith at QB vs. Rams

The San Francisco 49ers will go back to Troy Smith as their starting quarterback while leaving open the possibility that they might switch to Alex Smith at any time.

Niners coach Mike Singletary confirmed Thursday that Troy Smith will start in Sunday's pivotal NFC West game against the St. Louis Rams in place of Alex Smith, who was under center in San Francisco's last two games.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported the move Wednesday, citing a source with knowledge of the situation.

Singletary said he wouldn't hesitate to change quarterbacks during the game if the situation calls for it.

"You know what, it's kind of the same thing I've talked about all year," Singletary told reporters. "I feel that Troy has certain strengths, as well as Alex, and I think the way it works out, it is -- you know, we could possibly use them both. ... The game will dictate it.

"Even though Troy is going to be the starter, we're making sure that the game plan is such that we can possibly use both their strengths in this game."

The 49ers have changed quarterbacks after each of their last two defeats in an attempt to salvage a losing season. At 5-9, San Francisco still has an opportunity to claim the NFC West title and end a seven-year playoff drought by winning its final two games, against the Rams and Arizona Cardinals.

Troy Smith, who didn't join the 49ers until Sept. 6, has remained focused throughout the week on his second chance as San Francisco's starter. He went 3-2 in his five games as a starter earlier this season after taking over for Alex Smith in late October. Troy Smith had a career-high 356 passing yards to lead the 49ers to a 23-20 overtime victory over St. Louis on Nov. 14.

"This is huge for me," Troy Smith said. "For any player to be able to play in a game of this magnitude, be a part of something special, it's going to be pretty big for all of us. The knick-knacks and the other little things that are going on around us, we're definitely channeling that out and worrying about winning this game."

The 49ers went back to Alex Smith two weeks ago after Troy Smith completed just 10 of 25 passes during a 34-16 loss at Green Bay. Alex Smith had statistically the best game of his career the following week during a 40-21 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, but he and the San Francisco offense could muster just 192 total yards during last week's 34-7 loss at San Diego.

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Alex Smith began this season 1-6 as San Francisco's starter before separating his left shoulder during a Week 7 loss at Carolina. Selected by the 49ers with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 NFL draft, he is 18-31 as the team's starter.

Singletary was asked if he was concerned that the news broke before he revealed it.

"That's kind of the way it is, whether it's around the league," he said. "When you have Twitter, when you have all of the other things ... I don't want to have this organization be like the firm, you know, 'I don't want you to say anything.' ... I knew it was a matter of time before it would get out.

"There are things that I absolutely do not want to get out, that won't. But you just have to limit who you're telling. So I knew it was a matter of time before it would get out."

The 49ers have become accustomed this season to change within their offensive unit.

"We've been through everything you can go through as an offense really," wide receiver Michael Crabtree said. "It's difficult, but you just have to take what they give you and keep going. I'm just trying to stay positive about the whole situation and be ready to play this game Sunday."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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