Déjà Vu: Injury Bug Hits 49ers Again

May 11, 2004 at 12:00 AM


Maybe it's Karma. The football gods are punishing the 49ers for hoarding championships like a fat man hoards Twinkies. Whatever the reason, it seems like the 49ers cannot get through one camp without some kind of injury to a starter. The latest: a groin injury to newly appointed starting quarterback Tim Rattay.

Rattay will undergo surgery and, according to team doctors, should be back in 3 to 4 months - just in time for a few exhibition games and the start of the regular season. All is well, right? Dorsey gets some work in with the first team, coaches can get a good look at what the 49ers have at the quarterback position, and then Rattay can come back for the regular season. No harm, no foul. And Ratty doesn't even have to change his number from "lucky" 13.

Wait, this type of sly reasoning has fooled me once before. I will not be bamboozled a second season in a row! It was just last July when an optimistic 49ers organization announced that their starting quarterback injured his back. Of course, the injury was minor and according to his agent, Steve Baker, "if there was a game last week, he would have played." Even I bought it. The ending of the story, of course, was a tad different then expected. Jeff Garcia missed two exhibition games, failed to develop a rhythm with the offense until months into the season, and had his worst season since 1999.

The mini-camps all throughout May, June and July are crucial, especially for a developing quarterback who has thrown 164 passes in his NFL career, 118 of which were last season. In the few months before training camp, relationships are formed between teammates, tendencies are adjusted to, timing is developed, and plays are fine tuned to each player's abilities. Having a new quarterback makes this process indispensable. Taking into account that two of the top four wide receivers are rookies, and one is second year player the practices become crucial to the survival of the offense.

At least the 49ers are accustomed to dealing with injuries. During the 2002 season the injury list grew to over 20 players. Julian Peterson played 4 positions in one game, not because he was a better safety than Zack Bronson, but because Jim Mora was attempting to cover the glaring holes left by injuries. During 2002, the 49ers were described as a team decimated by injuries despite the fact that they won the NFC West for the first time since 1997. Last season the injury list hovered around 12 players per game. Anywhere from 5-10 of the players on the list were starters. At one point last season, 4 of the five starting offensive linemen were playing on some sort of ankle injury. The only player without an ankle injury, Ron Stone, wore a brace on his elbow because of an injury he sustained the previous season.

Maybe it's the shoes, or the soggy Candlestick turf. Maybe the shiny gold on the 49ers' helmets distracts the players long enough to get whacked by an enthusiastic young rookie trying to make the team. Whatever the reason, it seems as though the 49ers have the longest injury list in the NFL.

As a result of the injury to Rattay, the 49ers are looking at veteran quarterbacks; most notably former Bear's quarterback Kordell Stewart. Has the organization lost it? Maybe the shiny gold helmets distracted Erickson and Donahue from the fact that Stewart threw 12 interceptions and only 7 touchdowns last season before being benched. Since 1997, Stewart has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions only three times, the last time being in 2000. He has a career rating of 70.7, lacks consistency, and has confidence that is as brittle as the hip of an osteoporosis ridden 123-year old woman.

Bringing in Stewart, or any other quarterback, would be counterproductive. It would remove money that could be better spent on players with a future. It would remove time from Dorsey and Pickett, both quarterbacks that could have a future in San Francisco; but more importantly, it would add nothing of value to the team, unless Kordell decided to play wide receiver again.

The 49ers have to once again weather the injury storm and all of the ramifications that go along with it. Hopefully, the trainers get a hint and change the team's shoes. Or at the very least, dull those shiny gold helmets. Who knows? If the 49ers are willing to go so far as to even consider Kordell, they might as well go for broke.
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



2019 49ers vs. 2021 49ers, Part 1 (Offense)

By Marc Adams
17 hrs ago

How well do the 2021 49ers stack up to the 2019 team? Lately I have listened to some podcasts and read some tweets comparing the current San Francisco 49ers team (2021) to the 2019 team that fell just short of winning the Super Bowl. I find the comparison interesting. And since many people quickly assume the 2021 49ers are not as good as the 2019 team, I wanted to take a look for myself. So as we prepare for the team to report on Tuesday, let's compare the two teams, position by position. For the purpose of this very scientific experiment, we will assume everyone is healthy (even though that never happens). Let's start on offense. The defensive comparison is coming soon. Offense Quarterback:



'Dominant in every facet': 49ers' Trent Williams tops ESPN's ranking of offensive tackles

By David Bonilla
Jul 10, 2021

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler continues to look at position groups across the NFL and rank the best players within each. His latest effort was ranking the league's top offensive tackles. Fowler's list is based on input from around the NFL. He surveyed over 50 league executives, coaches, scouts, and players to compile it. "The objective is to identify the best players right now for 2021," wrote Fowler. "This is not a five-year projection or an achievement award. Who's the best today? Pretty simple." Last year, the San Francisco 49ers acquired Trent Williams from the Washington Football Team to



'What's with their coach?': 49ers' Jimmie Ward feels disrespected by Rams' Sean McVay

By David Bonilla
Jul 12, 2021

Does Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay think less of safety Jimmie Ward than he should? The San Francisco 49ers defender appears to believe so. In a conversation with Grant Cohn of Sports Illustrated, the soon-to-be 30-year-old safety feels like McVay unfairly targets him, thinking he can take advantage of the veteran defensive back. The safety and beat writer remembered a matchup in 2019 when McVay tested Ward's coverage skills with several offensive players, likely thinking he could take advantage of the defender. "What's with their coach? Does he have the big head or something like (that)?" Ward told Cohn during



CBS Sports lists 49ers among NFL's most overrated teams ahead of 2021 season

By David Bonilla
Jul 12, 2021

Some fans seem to relish the idea of their favorite team entering a season as an underdog. If you are one of those fans and cheer for the San Francisco 49ers, you will love Tyler Sullivan's recent feature for CBS Sports. The writer named the Bay Area squad in his list of the NFL's most overrated teams ahead of the 2021 season. Yes, San Francisco earned just six wins last season. However, as almost anyone will tell you while defending the team, the roster endured a historic number of injuries in a bizarre 2020. In fact,


Featured

More by Oscar Aparicio

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone