Rookies Pass First Pre-Test

Aug 11, 2003 at 12:00 AM


From Gene Washington to Ronnie Lott to Bryant Young, San Francisco rookies have a history of coming up big in their first NFL season. The 2003 draft class was unveiled last night, and through their first test, raised hopes that they too will come up big in their first season

Seventh round draft pick Ken Dorsey, showing no signs of the weak arm that made his draft stock fall, connected on 4 of 7 passes for 39 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Lloyd made an instant impact, hauling in his first catch of his career for a 39 yard touchdown to put the 49ers up 7-3 early in the second quarter.

Not to be out done, Arnaz Battle caught a 15 yard touchdown from Dorsey for the first catch of his career. Battle also recovered a fumble and recorded a tackle on special teams. Aaron Walker, a rookie tight end from Florida, finished with 4 catches for 42 yards, including an 11 yard catch that set up Battle's touchdown in the 3rd quarter. Anthony Adams started the game at defensive tackle and finished with 4 tackles.

The Mariucci era officially came to an end as Lloyd vaulted into the end zone in the second quarter. The 39 yard touchdown pass was proof that Erickson was ready to stretch defenses, a facet of the offense severely lacking under Mariucci.

"It was just a go route." said Lloyd, "Go down there and make a play. That's what Erickson is bringing to the 49ers this year, the ability to go down field and stretch the defense. I hope I can find my spot on the team doing that, cause that's what we need."

Lloyd, a second team All-Big Ten receiver in 2002 at Illinois, showed a good burst of speed separating from his defender for the touchdown. The team will need that speed this year if they want to contend with the secondaries of the Eagles and Bucs.

"I'm definitely going to have to work on my technique, keep going forward from here, cause this is not the end, it's just the beginning. I just have to keep my head on straight, keep listening to TO and Tai Streets and hope I can become a better receiver," Lloyd said.

Since 1998, the team has been looking for a pass catching tight end to fill the enormous void left by the retirement of four-time pro bowler Brent Jones. Eric Johnson has shown signs that he could fill that void, but injuries slowed his progress last year. With 4 catches in his first game, Walker showed a great knack for getting open, and gave the 49ers high hopes that he can contribute this season.

On a defensive line that featured two first round draft picks in Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Haynes, Anthony Adams didn't see much of the limelight while at Penn State. But his constant motor packed into a 5-11, 300 pound frame elicits memories of Michael Carter, a dominant nose tackle for the 49ers during their Super Bowls in the late 80s. Adams contributed 4 tackles and was a main contributor on a line that allowed only 64 yards rushing.

"He was on the field a lot and it seemed like he was making a lot of plays," Head Coach Dennis Erickson said. "He's a warrior. He's a kid who plays very hard."

But the star of the game was Dorsey. Dorsey capitalized on the field position provided to him by his defense and led the 49ers into the end zone on only his 6th play from scrimmage. Dorsey finished with a 146.9 quarterback rating - not bad for his first game in the pros.

"I thought Ken did some really good things," Erickson said. "He's got great feel about him, understands the game, didn't make any mistakes and threw the ball away when he had to. That's part of the learning process he has and every week he is going to get better."

Selected 241st overall, the Orinda, California native is poised to prove his college success wasn't a fluke. After winning the national championship at Miami his junior season and falling short in the title game his senior year, Dorsey's draft stock fell because teams feared he didn't have a strong enough arm to play in the NFL. Despite his 38-2 college record, comparisons were being made to Steve Walsh, another Miami quarterback who lacked a big arm and eventually floundered in the NFL.

"It was tough, but I couldn't ask for a better situation," Dorsey said. "As a quarterback, what better place to learn and evolve as a player? Truly it's a great place to be, 'cause the teammates and the coaching staff give me the ability to evolve as a quarterback."

Motivated by skeptics, Dorsey added 10 pounds of muscle working out in Arizona and has impressed the coaching staff with his arm strength. Dorsey possessed enough arm strength to toss a 15 yard dart to Battle through tight coverage for his first NFL touchdown pass. Dorsey also led the 49ers on a seven play, 29 yard drive in the fourth, closing it out with a 2 yard pass to Jason Isom with 7:46 to play.

"On the first one Arnaz got a great release for me over the middle, and I just tried to put it up for him where the defensive back couldn't make a play and he made a great catch," Dorsey said.

Brandon Doman also made a strong push for the third quarterback spot, finishing 11 of 12 with 101 yards passing. He was also sacked three times, however.

"We both felt comfortable and we were both old enough and mature enough to understand that we have to go out and make good plays and lead the team. I think Brandon did a good job of that, and I'm learning to do it better each day. We're making good progress right now," Dorsey said.

Dorsey has his work cut out for him, but he is off to a good start.
The views 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



Fred Warner says Dee Ford looks great, expects pass rusher to give 49ers a 'huge advantage' in 2021

By David Bonilla
Jul 23, 2021

The San Francisco 49ers will get a boost from the return of pass rusher Nick Bosa this season. The third-year player missed most of last season after suffering a torn ACL during Week 2. The 49ers' pass rush may get another boost in 2021 with the potential return of veteran Dee Ford. According to Fred Warner, it sounds like things are trending in that direction. The star linebacker joined KNBR this morning and was asked for an update on Ford. "Yeah, Dee, he's great," Warner responded. "He looks great. He's back. I've seen him plenty, and he's been working his tail off. I know the type of player that he is, and the fact that he's back healthy is going to give us a huge advantage, so I'm really excited about seeing him back." Ford appeared in just one



Round Table: When will Trey Lance get his first start for the 49ers?

By Site Staff
Jul 23, 2021

Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers when the team opens the regular season on September 12 against the Detroit Lions. How long he remains the starter is the question. San Francisco traded up to draft Garoppolo's eventual successor, Trey Lance, at No. 3 overall. He will bring a much different dynamic to head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. The inexperienced quarterback just needs time to learn and master the playbook and scheme. We asked our 49ers Webzone contributors to predict when Lance will get his first start. Below are the responses in the order in which they were received. Chaz Inouye The 49ers should get off to a strong start with what looks to be an easy schedule to begin the season with



Kyle Shanahan: No plans for Trey Lance to take first-team practice reps with 49ers

By David Bonilla
11 hrs ago

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters on Monday after players came off the field from the first training camp practice of the week. While rookie Trey Lance has had impressive moments over the past week, Shanahan reiterated that no quarterback competition is brewing in Santa Clara. Garoppolo is currently getting the majority of the practice reps with the first-team offense. Lance has been primarily working with the second-team unit. There are no plans for that to change. "I thought Trey had one of his better days on Saturday," Shanahan said, "but that was nothing to move him up there, to start talking differently with Jimmy or anything like that." The plan is for Garoppolo to be the 49ers' starter when the team faces the


Featured

More by Matt Faust

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone