Can Steve Mariucci lead us back to the promise land?

Nov 20, 2000 at 12:00 AM


Seeing that this is my premier column on the 49erwebzone, I felt it necessary to write about a topic that I have thinking about for a long while. Since I haven’t been around as long as the other 49er fans, I cannot remember the years that we were not controlled by either Bill Walsh or George Seifert so I can only compare our coach to one of those two. Being that those are some tough shoes to follow in, Steve deserves some latitude, but does he have the ability to take us where we all want to go?

Just a few short years ago, no one in the bay area was completely sure what direction the 49ers were going to head in. They had just lost their coach of 8 years, George Seifert, and they were searching for a replacement. When the announcement came that Steve Mariucci was to become the coach of the flagship franchise of the NFL, I was left to wonder, Is this guy for real? He had not really stood out at the University of California, leading the Golden Bears to a 6-5 record, so I did not know if he could cope with the rigors of a NFL coaching job. His ability was tested early on in his career.

September 1997, Steve’s first regular season game as 49er head coach was a very turbulent day. he saw Jerry Rice go down with a supposed season ending knee injury and saw his pro bowl quarterback, Steve Young, sustain a concussion in his long line of concussions. Many of the “learned” NFL people had the 49ers written off for dead without Rice for the season and a battered Young, but Mariucci seemed to turn the ship around and took the 49ers all the way to the NFC championship game. This achievement seemed to solidify his place as this organizations head coach, but problems were definitely looming on the horizon.

Since that inaugural season, Steve Mariucci has seen a complete front office overhaul, lack of production from top draft picks, and the loss of many aged veterans to the salary cap, causing the once proud 49er organization go into a salary cap imposed rebuilding process. He has done a very admirable job this season, but many question his ability to lead this team.

THE POSITIVES

It is quite obvious that Steve is a player’s coach who is able to get the most out of his players. These guys are willing to listen to his instructions and respect the path that he and the rest of his coaching staff is trying to take the organization. He has been able to build this young teams confidence and get them going in the right direction.

If the NFL has a more emotional head coach within it’s ranks, I have yet to see him coach against the 49ers. Steve has to be the most emotional guy I can ever remember being involved with the 49er organization. Day in and Day out, Steve is living and breathing 49er football, constantly striving to get that euphoria of victory and avoiding the degradation of defeat. I am sure that he is the most inspirational figure the 49ers have on that football field.

THE NEGATIVES

While Steve is a great player coach, the one thing that has been notably absent from the 49ers of the Mariucci era has been discipline. During the Walsh and Seifert years, the 49ers were one of the least penalized teams in the league, but since Steve took over, the team has gone over to the other extreme. Anytime that a flag is on the ground, 49er fans almost dread the call that costs them a big gainer or a defensive stop. If the 9ers are to return to glory, the discipline of the team should be the first priority.

As the team has fallen from grace, both the offense and defense have had stretches of ineffectiveness that has been put on the shoulders of Mariucci’s coordinators. Both Marty Mornhinweg and Jim Mora Jr. have been much maligned for their conservative approaches to the game as well as their poor results. Injuries, age, and new faces have been large factors in the teams lack of production, but to get to the next level, a change might be in order on both sides of the ball.

I have seen the 49ers take a devastating tumble from Super Bowl competitor to NFC West doormat but am confident in the future of this franchise. I have great hopes still for the Steve Mariucci regime and am confident that we will return to prominence, but it is essential for our team to keep progressing. If we continue to progress, Mooch will be holding the Super Bowl trophy over his head as the tears stream down his face, if not, we will be back to the uncertainty that we all went through just four short seasons ago.

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



Steve Young says 49ers' Trey Lance is 'awesomely raw'

By Marc Adams
Oct 14

Hall-of-Fame quarterback Steve Young appeared on KNBR Radio for his weekly show to discuss the San Francisco 49ers. He had plenty to say about 49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance, and his starting debut last Sunday in Arizona. "Well, I mean he is awesomely raw," Young told KNBR's 'Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks' on Wednesday. "There is some stuff, but you know it is moving very quickly. Quarterbacking is about coming to a place where no matter how crazy it is, how intense the moment -- it's how quiet your mind is. When your mind is quiet and you own the data, and you own the moment, then your body, that's when the measure of you as an athlete comes out. "It's a wonderful place to get to, but until it does you're always trying to get to manage your brain being



Steve Young and Jerry Rice struggling to figure out 49ers' identity

By David Bonilla
Oct 21

Who are the 2021 San Francisco 49ers? Fans are still trying to figure out the team's identity. Maybe the Niners are still trying to figure that out themselves. We know head coach Kyle Shanahan would like the 49ers to own a punishing rushing attack. That hasn't happened. Some of that is due to injuries. The team lost starter Raheem Mostert for the season due to a knee injury suffered in Week 1. Jeff Wilson was lost before that but could return this season. JaMycal Hasty is just now returning from an injury of his own. That left a pair of rookies — Elijah Mitchell and Trey Sermon — to establish a rushing attack. However, even they have not been healthy. Right now, San Francisco is averaging 122 rushing yards per game, which is good enough to rank No. 12



John Lynch 'fully confident' 49ers can rebound from 3-game losing streak

By David Bonilla
Oct 15

The San Francisco 49ers started 2-0 but have since lost three consecutive games. No one inside the organization is panicking, though. Instead, the focus remains on one game at a time. That means looking toward the Indianapolis Colts, not backward at the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. At 2-3, San Francisco sits in last place within the NFC West. However, general manager John Lynch is confident he and head coach Kyle Shanahan have built a roster that can rebound. The 49ers are in their bye week, and a lot of football remains in this 17-game season. "I'm fully confident [the pieces are in place to turn things around] because of the people in our room and the character of the people in our room, because of the people we have in leadership



49ers great Jerry Rice shares why QB transitions can be challenging for players

By David Bonilla
Oct 21

NFL legend Jerry Rice has witnessed a San Francisco 49ers quarterback transition before — but on a much grander scale. For him, it was watching one future Hall of Fame quarterback succeed another future Hall of Fame quarterback. There is yet another transition taking place in Santa Clara, this time from Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarterback who helped guide the 49ers to a Super Bowl just two seasons ago, to rookie Trey Lance. The topic has been discussed at length. When should it happen? How should it happen? Most of the quarterback discussion is done with an outside perspective. This week, Rice joined the 49ers Talk podcast to share the behind-the-scenes perspective and what a quarterback transition is like for players. "It's kind of hard to


Featured

More by Erik Maitland

  • No more articles found

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone