• By Bradford Seaman
    Apr 22, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    It was pretty obvious in the wake of the 2002 draft that the 49ers have returned to prominence. Of all the picks, only kicker Jeff Chandler stands to be a starter at his position. But the 49ers planned it that way. With all 22 starters in place, the 49ers began targeting their second strings, and they are now a significantly deeper team than they were on Friday. Mike Rumph and Josh Shaw should see plenty of action as rookies; Saleem Rasheed and Kevin Curtis should be special teams stars; Jeff Chandler will win the kicking job, and the Eric Heitmann and Kyle Kosier give the 49ers depth along the interior of the line. Mark Anelli could be the 49ers’ best backup tight end in quite some time. 1 (27) Mike Rumph, CB, Miami (Fl) 6-2, 205 lbs, 4.56 28...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Apr 17, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    There are some changes here. First of all, I’ve come down off my 'no-linebackers and no safties’ high horse. I realized that we really don’t have a backup for Julian Peterson and that safties can contribute in the nickel and dime packages just as well as any corner. Unlike corner and defensive line, however, there is very good value at both LB and S in the second round. So I’m thinking that the 49ers’ second round pick, if they keep it, will be one of those two positions. For the record, I am not a 'Tank’ Williams fan, and I hope that the 49ers pass on him, despite what I’ve heard. You will also notice that I have completely ignored wide receiver. I don’t like to do that, of course, but there are just not enough wideouts in the middle rounds who I really...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Apr 9, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    1 (27) Anthony Weaver, DT/DE, Notre Dame A great, intense player. Will add a lot of depth and versatility to the line. Other Options: Lito Sheppard, CB, Florida – A great cover guy who would move Webster to nickel. Charles Grant, DE, Georgia – Best size/pass rush end after Peppers. Levi Jones, T, Arizona – Big, talented, smart. Needs more heart. Could be gone before we pick, though. Mike Pearson, T, Florida – Another athletic tackle for the 49ers to consider. Dwight Freeney, DE, Syracuse - Should be a great third down pass rusher at the very least. Edward Reed, S, Miami – Plays the same position as Bronson, but he’s just too good to ignore. Kendall Simmons, G, Auburn – Looks like a great player…but a guard in round...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Apr 9, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Bolstered by All-Pro Jeff Garcia and a smart, capable backup in Tim Rattay, the 49ers certainly don’t have quarterback listed as a need position. The offensive line is older than Stonehenge, the receivers other than Owens couldn’t make the Miami Hurricanes roster, and there isn’t a corner after Ahmed Plummer and Jason Webster who could cover anybody. Many people questioned my inclusion of Western Washington’s Scott Mitchell in the 7th round. I wanted to point out to these people that it was a 7th rounder (I mean, what do you have to lose). But there’s more to it than that. Simply put, quarterback is always a need position for the 49ers. First off, the 49ers depth at quarterback is nowhere near as deep as it appears....
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Mar 30, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    With little cap room remaining, the 49ers have made it fairly clear what needs they will fill through the draft and which ones they will fill through free agency. With discussions heating up with guards Chris Naeole of New Orleans and Ron Stone of the New York Giants and safety Tony Parrish of Chicago, it appears that they will not be drafting a starting guard or a safety. The 49ers also will have a healthy John Keith and Ronnie Heard competing for the strong safety job. This simplifies things quite a bit. My draft philosophy is pretty simple: give me reliable, coachable players in the early rounds and take risks in the middle rounds. As much as I love Charles Grant, Anthony Weaver is probably a better pick because he’s more of a sure thing. Weaver will be a very good NFL...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Mar 23, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    The 49ers have three defensive ends that play. Of the three, they are only sold on one of them: last year’s first round pick Andre Carter. The remaining players – John Engelberger and Chike Okeafor – are effort players but undersized and not gifted pass rushers. That’s a bad combination. Engelberger, who has a motor that never stops, has been the second starter over Okeafor, who has taken a while to develop. Still, the 49ers have two main desires from their defensive ends that remain unfulfilled: size and pass rush. It’s hard to fill both. The 49ers would like to get bigger on the line, but they also would like to have a pass rusher to add to the mix on third down. Carter should be a very solid player, but does not appear to be a sack artist like Jevon Kearse and...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Mar 6, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    If there was any one game last year that signaled the direction the 49ers might take in the draft, it was the 37-31 loss to Chicago. When Jason Webster and Anthony Parker went down with injuries, the Bears picked the remaining 49ers secondary apart with their lousy 'dink-and-dunk’ passing game. It was clearly a game the 49ers would have won with a good nickel corner. What makes this draft so tough to call is also a sign of how well the 49ers have been drafting the past few years: the 49ers’ major need is depth in the secondary, offensive line, and defensive line. The 49ers need a corner, but he will probably not start over Webster and Plummer. The 49ers need a pass rusher, but they are not likely to get one who will unseat Andre Carter, John Engelberger, and Chike Okeafor....
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Mar 6, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    As far as I know, the only free agents the 49ers are looking at right now are Green Bay guard Mark Wahle and Tennessee defensive tackle Jason Fisk. Wahle, in his fourth year out of Navy (6’6”, 310), started at both guard and tackle for the Packers but was much better as a guard. The 49ers are likely eyeing him for depth. If they let Ray Brown go, then he could be vying for a starting job. He is young and has experience. Fisk is an undersized tackle (6’3”, 295) who plays his butt off and is very active. If he signs, the 49ers plan to rotate him into the lineup with Reggie McGrew. If Bryant Young takes snaps at defensive end, or if McGrew is let go, then he would see even more playing time. Reading into this (albeit perhaps too much) it would appear that the 49ers...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Feb 26, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    Mariucci Gets Raw Treatment So what now for Steve Mariucci and the 49ers? For starters, they had better share a long session passing the peace pipe, because Mariucci has had just about enough of the 49ers’ ambivalent attitude towards him. It’s one thing go 12-4 without so much as a thumbs-up from the front office. It’s another thing entirely to then be pushed out the door at the slightest mention of interest from another team. The 49ers are not only unappreciative of Mariucci, they seem to be in a hurry to get him out the door. As if that wasn’t enough, Mariucci also has to deal with the insult of being a pawn on the negotiating chess table of the Bucs and the Raiders. From what I hear, the Buccaneers were never going to hire Steve Mariucci as...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Feb 4, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    The Patriots impressive 20-17 victory over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI did a lot more than give the 49ers and their fans some satisfaction in denying the Rams a second title in three years. It may also have revealed the path the 49ers should take if they want to finally beat the St. Louis juggernaut. The Patriots stunning defensive gameplan may have repercussions on how the 49ers will approach their personnel moves in the off-season. Here’s what we learned from Sunday: The 49ers Biggest Need is Certainly Not a Pass Rusher – It’s Corner When it comes to stopping the Rams, the consensus has been that you can’t give Kurt Warner time to throw. The Philadelphia Eagles blitzed him relentlessly in their regular season matchup with great success, taking the Rams...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Feb 2, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    The Free Agents Aaron Garcia was signed to give Giovanni Carmazzi a battle for the third-string quarterback job, and at this point you’d have to give the advantage to Garcia. Carmazzi hasn’t even mastered the passing techniques the 49ers feel he needs to in order to play in the 49ers system, and his pro career has never really gotten off the ground. Meanwhile, Garcia is coming off a 4500-yard season in the Arena League, showing the mobility and decision-making skills the 49ers covet from their signal callers. Not that the 49ers are expecting him to repeat the Jeff Garcia miracle. If NFL personnel people considered Garcia a prospect, you’d have to think that he’d find a better job than third-string. Kicker Jamie Rheem is the only other significant...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Jan 20, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    Quarterbacks Jeff Garcia smothered his remaining critics by producing another stellar, Pro Bowl year. This year he displayed a tremendous amount of toughness, with his body on the verge of breaking apart during the season’s stretch run. It’s amazing – he is the dead opposite of Montana in the pocket. While Montana was calm and technically sound, Garcia does more dancing and hopping than a ballerina on speed. Yet they both produced results. The only thing remaining for Garcia is to win some big games – against the Rams, for example. Although he hasn’t missed any time, he constantly exposes himself to big hits. At his size, the 49ers would not feel comfortable without a serious backup. Tim Rattay could be it. In the spot duty he has been in, Rattay has looked very...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Jan 15, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    The 49ers lost to the Packers. Again. In a game in which the 49ers could not afford any mistakes, they made just two. But those two – Jose Cortez’s ridiculous 3-iron field goal that I could have blocked, and Jeff Garcia’s tipped interception – were enough. The Packers and the 49ers are two teams that mirror each other in every respect except one: Brett Favre. In the end, Favre hit the big pass – the third down bullet to Antonio Freeman on the final drive that effectively ended the game. Garcia underthrew a wide-open Terrell Owens, allowing Packers corner Mike McKenzie to catch up to Owens and tip the ball. Favre made his throw. Garcia didn’t make his. In a tight contest, that was the game. It’s a sad ending to an otherwise successful year. It’s...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Jan 7, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    The 49ers ended their season on a positive note, trouncing the Saints as if it was 1998. Terrell Owens, Jeff Garcia, and the defense looked sharp. The defense’s third shutout was the most in a single season for the franchise, and Garcia became the first 49ers QB with consecutive 30 touchdown seasons. Garrison Hearst is back, the 49ers are back, and the 2001 campaign cannot be considered anything less than a triumph – across the entire organization. The 49ers have laid the foundation for what will, hopefully, be a title team in the coming few years. But the 2001 season is likely to be over next week. While the 49ers and their staff have been rewarded on the field for three year’s worth of wise drafting, superb coaching, and gutsy play, the NFL playoff system has...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Jan 2, 2002 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    The Dallas loss not only sent the 49ers to a likely playoff game against Green Bay next week, it really magnified the sudden loss of offense that has plagued the team for the last four weeks. Most west coast offenses, with all their sensitivity for timing and precision, go through ruts. Just look at the Raiders the last month. The 49ers, after never being held to less than 340 yards all year, have averaged 285 the last four games. They appear to be in a swoon at the worst possible time. The running game has been effective at times, but it still doesn’t seem have the firepower to set the tone in big games. For all the big stats and the #2 NFL ranking, the running game doesn’t step up and pop you in the mouth the way Pittsburgh does. The 49ers’ ground game is far...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Dec 25, 2001 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    The most significant sign of the 49ers emergence as a complete football game came from Steve Mariucci moments before the kickoff on Sunday. Asked by a sideline reporter about the Jeff Garcia’s injury, Mariucci stated that the 49ers would play conservative on offense. “This will be a low scoring game,” he said. That statement would never have been uttered last year or even early this year. You can only play conservative on offense if you know that your defense will control the other team. In so many words, what Mariucci was really saying was, “Our defense will have to win this game for us.” That’s exactly what happened Sunday, no more so than on the goal line stand in the fourth quarter that denied the Eagles the endzone despite seven plays from inside the...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Dec 17, 2001 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    For all of you who were ready to toss defensive coordinator Jim More Jr. into the bay after the 49ers defense struggled in the first half of the year, I have this to say: Shame on you. For the third straight game, the defense put together a quality effort. For the second time in two games, they recorded a shutout. For the second straight game, the 49ers pass rush, left for dead the whole year, was standout. The Dolphins line, which had yielded 13 sacks all year, allowed six to the 49ers on Sunday. The reality is that the 49ers defense contained only four starters who were with the team in 1999. The past two years, they have been developing two new corners, two new defensive ends, and, most crucially, all their linebackers. That includes Derek Smith who,...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Dec 10, 2001 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    It’s amazing to see what a bad performance in a big game can do to your reputation. Last week, Jeff Garcia’s name was being mentioned alongside Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. Yet this week, after playing more like Jerry Garcia, he is being treated to some more humbling references. Perhaps the harshest came from Pro Football Weekly, which stated that Garcia looked like “the free agent nobody wanted” two years ago. It’s a pretty precipitous fall, but one to be expected from a guy that a lot of people around the country have never seen play, much less in a big game. The game against New Orleans was a test. So was the Bears game, but Sunday’s contest was one of those games where aspiring teams, and aspiring quarterbacks, really learn where they stand. And the news is not good for...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Dec 4, 2001 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    The 35-0 shellacking of the Buffalo Bills leaves the 49ers poised on what is certainly their biggest regular season game since Green Bay in 1998. Even those 49ers, Steve Young and all, had a poor track record in big games. They split with Green Bay in 1998, but lost both big games to Atlanta (one late season clash and one playoff). Green Bay was 4-0 against the 49ers from 1995 to 1997. In fact, the last regular season big game the 49ers won before this year was the win over Dallas in 1995 – led by Elvis Grbac. The Rams game is, really, the measuring stick on whether the 49ers will be a 14-2 division winner or a 12-4 wild card. Lose and we stand almost no chance of winning the division – we would have to run the table while the Rams lose two more games. Unlikely. It would also guarantee...
  • By Bradford Seaman
    Nov 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM 0 comments
    I think Payton Manning’s performance on Sunday showed us what’s wrong with the Colts. It isn’t a matter of Manning not getting enough defensive support or help from the running game. The problem is Manning himself. How else to explain his four interceptions? He wasn’t hurried. In fact, he had all day to throw and was almost never touched. It’s not the running game – the Colts proved effective at moving the ball on the ground. So what could it be?  To me, Manning looks very uncertain and detached mentally. All four of his picks were really bad passes. Rashad Holman’s pick was luck, but the ball was still well below and behind the receiver – it bounced off his feet. Manning also badly overthrew three or four deep balls in the game. He just looks terribly out of sync and...
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