First down: 49ers QB comparison

The 49ers were 3-3 when Shaun Hill started at quarterback and 5-5 when Alex Smith was the starter.

Each man took vastly different routes to similar results.

I charted every 49ers offensive snap for personnel and situation last season and was pleased to find all the stats balanced against official league totals.

There's a lot of information to sort through. I'll start by comparing how each quarterback fared on first-down passes across primary personnel groups. These stats include all but three pass attempts (thrown from personnel with three tight ends).

The charts show how much Smith must improve while operating from the base offense with two backs and one tight end. This is the offense best suited to running back Frank Gore, who likes running behind fullback Moran Norris. Hill was much more efficient from this personnel group on first down.

The 49ers adapted to Smith by using more personnel groups featuring second tight end Delanie Walker instead of Norris. Smith's first-down numbers from this group also could stand to improve.

I'll break out stats for other downs in future posts.