Good. We are back on subject.
I'd like to respond to the issues you bring up:
"I acknowledge that Battle has done more. Hell, Hill has only been in the league for 2 years. Are you arguing that seniority should be the rule when constructing an NFL roster? Is Hill not entitled time to develop the same way Battle was given time when he was young?
As for Battle, you may be able to selectively pull a portion of Battle's career where he had a streak of games played. But if you were open minded enough to look at his career as a whole, you will see he has missed 25% of his games. You would also be open minded to the fact that he has missed more practice time, OTA's than any receiver on our roster. Can you also admit Battle's age and salary are NOT in his favor when competing against the younger WR's?"
I agree that Hill has every right to develop. However, as a third year player now, if another player beats him out of a spot, he is beat out of that spot. The Niners cannot continue to wait for Hill to actualize his potential if he is constantly surpassed on the depth chart.
The Niners had no problem dumping a previous third rounder, Brandon Williams, because he couldn't rise high enough on the depth chart. So, that tells me Hill is not automatically safe, as many assume. He has to beat out some guys. Otherwise, he will be the 6th WR, and either cut or relegated to the inactive list.
My contention throughout this thread is not that Battle will make the team
. It is, that neither Zeigler, Battle, or Hill is automatically safe. One note: If Zeigler's last name was Brown, nobody would discuss him twice. He's a nice kid, but come on people. He's not in Battle's class.
As for the injured games, you continue to calculate Battle's non-participation in games from 5 years ago, early in his career, as a strike against him. The reality is that, although he misses practice time, he showed up and played for over 2 1/2 straight years without a missed game. So, his injury history from 5-6 years ago means nothing in 2009. I have continued to debunked the "Battle is always injured" tag, which is unfair. If so, he would not have played in, and been our leader in receptions for a period of 40+ games, stretching from 2006, 2007 and midway through 2008. His injuries in 2003 and 2004 have no relation to his production and depth chart status of 2009. You are very fixated on games missed from 5 years ago, but it is not a strong argument in 2009.
For some those on the board who continue to be skeptical about Battle: Here was a 6th round, converted WR, who became one of the better blocking WR's in the NFC, has been tremendously valuable for the team on the field and in the locker room, has been challenged every year with new guys who should have supplanted him as the leaders at WR: A. Bryant, D. Jackson, A. Lelie, B. Johnson. And yet, every year, he continues to beat out these guys. Why? He's a good player and very determined.
As a final note: Battle was the number 3 WR for the Niners in 2008, and yet still led the team in receptions through the first half of the season. I'm not quite sure why this fact is summarily dismissed as irrelevant by many in the argument.
Hill was a backup role player behind Battle. So, to automatically assume that Battle has gone south, become a bad player, or cannot come back from injury, or passed on the depth chart by Hill would be naive by any that doubt him.
He continues to prove doubters wrong, and until he does lose a step, or become injured to the point where he cannot beat out other players, I will never dismiss the guy as an afterthought. He's proven tons of people to be foolish in this regard over and over again.
P.S. Haven't we been down this road before with the previously listed group of WR's who were going to displace Battle, notably Team Lelie in Summer 2007 and 2008?
[ Edited by MadDog49er on May 16, 2009 at 4:03 PM ]