The road ahead

Sep 4, 2000 at 12:00 AM0


The 49ers' 2000 campaign started exactly like their 1999 season ended…with a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. However, there were a few bright spots. The offense seems to have picked up right where they ended too. They put up 28 points and scored in every quarter as second year man Jeff Garcia was 23 of 36 for 253 yards 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. The defense on the other hand was all too familiar giving up 36 points to an otherwise mediocre team. So what are we to expect when we face teams like the Rams, Packers and Broncos? Blowouts? Maybe not.

Weapons in training

You have to remember, this is a very young defense as shown by the secondary's porous performance. Rookie Ahmed Plummer alone had a very bad game giving up two big plays which pretty much determined the flow of the game. But like all the other youngsters on this team, they will learn and start playing as a unit. The injury to safety Lance Schulters was a heart breaker as well. He is expected to miss next week's game against the Carolina Panthers at 3Com Park. Big deal? It sure is. Lance Schulters was the one person you had to watch out for when throwing the ball deep. Falcons' quarterback Chris Chandler was already taking advantage of the young secondary by using our own offense against us with slants up the middle. When Schulters was knocked out of the game, Chandler immediately took advantage of the opportunity throwing deep knowing that there would be very little help from the safeties. Without Schulters, the secondary consists of Monty Montgomery and Ahmed Plummer at cornerback and Zack Bronson, John Keith, or Pierson Prioleau at safety.

The rush defense was present giving up only 95 net yards on the ground. 77 of those yards came from Jamal Anderson as the 49ers held him to only 3.2 yards per carry. Not bad considering how much damage Anderson did to the team in 1998. While the rush defense was there, the pass rush was not. Once he got his rhythm, Chris Chandler had plenty of time to find open receivers whether is was a 12 yard catch to Bob Christian or a 44 yard touchdown bomb to Terance Mathis. Bryant Young and Junior Bryant were pretty stable in the middle but it was the youngsters around them that the Falcons seemed to be targeting. Again, with time they will improve as well.

Going on the offensive

While Jeff Garcia played his heart out, some of the receivers seemed to be out of rhythm. Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens combined for 131 yards on 12 receptions, but they each dropped a couple of typically easy catches which would have kept two key drives alive and moving. Certainly not the performance we have come to expect out of the two seasoned veterans. Greg Clark, Charlie Garner and Fred Beasley were as reliable as always. Even J.J. Stokes got into the action making a key catch for a 25 yard gain.

On the ground, Chalie Garner kept on going as though the 1999 season never ended gaining 62 yards on 15 carries. That's a little over 4.1 yards a carry which clearly outperformed the Jamal Anderson show. But it was fullback Fred Beasley who stole the spotlight with 3 touchdowns on 3 receptions with a combined 25 net yards, despite a poor rushing attack.

Down the road

What are we to expect from this team? That depends on one man, Jeff Garcia. Can he be a super quarterback and have monster yards each and every game? Because until this defense develops, that's exactly what he will have to do. If he doesn't put a lot of points on the board then don't think that there will be any hesitation to throw in NFL journeyman Rick Mirer who performed well in the preseason (which isn't saying much given Ryan Leaf of the Charger's opening day performance). The obvious choice would be to stick it out with Garcia even if the offense does not run as smoothly with him…yet. The receivers will have to step up and help Garcia out because he may not be a Joe Montana or Steve Young but for now, he is this team's leader. This is a good football team right now. At least they are better than most figured they were according to what they showed us this past Sunday. There are no expectations for this team and that is our greatest advantage. We may take a few teams by surprise. While it is true that the glory days when San Francisco, Dallas, and Green Bay dominated the NFC are over, the 49ers are closer than any of those teams on the road back to glory. Now I won't go as far as predicting a playoff birth as Fred Beasley apparently has when he was quoted saying, "Don't count these 49ers out just yet… Our '97 team lost its opening game, too, and then won 13 or 14 in a row (they actually won 11).'' He may see something we do not but I seriously doubt that with all the tough competition between the Redskins, Vikings, Eagles, Rams, Bucs, and Bears, that we will be sneaking past anyone. But with time and development, who knows what the future may hold for this team.

The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Transcripts: What Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Richard Hightower said ahead of 49ers-Cardinals

By Site Staff
Oct 6

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing to play the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. Head coach Kyle Shanahan, special teams coordinator Richard Hightower, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spoke with reporters before today's practice. Here is everything they had to say. Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff. Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Opening comments: "Alright. Injuries for today: [CB] K'Waun [Williams], still the calf, will not practice. [QB] Jimmy Garoppolo, calf, will not practice. [T] Trent Williams, shoulder, not practicing. [TE George] Kittle, calf, not practicing. [DL] Samson Ebukam, hamstring, not practicing. [C] Alex Mack will have a vet day. [CB] Josh Norman, chest, is



Transcripts: What DeMeco Ryans, Mike McDaniel said ahead of 49ers-Cardinals

By Site Staff
Oct 7

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing to play the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel spoke with reporters after today's practice. Here is everything they had to say. Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff. Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans CB Josh Norman was out of that blue Jersey today. How is he feeling and how has he looked at practice this week? "Yeah, he's still progressing, going through to get ready. He still has a few important days coming up here. We'll see how it goes. See where he is for the game." You've studied Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray enough over the last couple of



49ers promote WR Travis Benjamin, activate two from the practice squad ahead of Cardinals game

By David Bonilla
Oct 9

The San Francisco 49ers have made the following roster moves ahead of Sunday's Week 5 road game against the Arizona Cardinals. WR Travis Benjamin has been promoted from the practice squad to the active roster TE Tanner Hudson and QB Nate Sudfeld have been activated from the practice squad TE George Kittle has been placed on injured reserve The 49ers note that new kicker Joey Slye will wear number 14 for Sunday's game. NBC Sports Bay Area was the first to report that the 49ers were placing Kittle on injured reserve. The tight end has been dealing with a calf injury. San Francisco enters Sunday's game with a


Featured

More by David Bonilla

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone