49ers Clubhouse 

49ers: Not ready for the "big time"?

September 26, 2001

by Rod Albuyeh
49ers Clubhouse writer 

Should we start re-training our voices for Super Bowl victory chants?  Not just yet, but this team is so improved, so very improved, that it brings tears to my eyes.  Remember last year?  Remember the controversy between Jeff Garcia and Rick Mirer?  Remember the young defensive backs getting burned time and time again?  Remember Monty Montgomery?  Well, news flash.  Rick Mirer is gone,  Our defensive backs are playing like six year veterans, and Monty has packed his bags (Just kidding about Monty, I really liked that guy).  My point is, that this team does have a legitimate playoff chance.  I stress "legitimate".  I do hope that the wild card week doesn't get cut short, because that may be the 49ers' only hope. 

First of all, I'd like to congratulate the 49ers receiving corps for successfully handing the game over to the Rams.  Our receivers are better than that, aren't they?  J.J. Stokes turned a full 180 degrees from last week and was looking like himself from last year.
Terrell Owens?  Please.  Isn't he a pro bowl receiver or something?  Isn't this the same guy who caught 20 passes in a single game?  Some receivers don't catch 20 passes in their whole careers.  How is it even remotely possible that he would drop not one, not two, but three passes that were VERY catchable when he was needed most?  If the 49ers are ever to be a championship team again, these receiving corps must stay reliable, otherwise we'll be in the bottom of the NFC West for a long time. 

In the past, I have been pretty hard on Jeff Garcia in my articles.  Last weeks loss, though, was not entirely his fault.  On paper he may not have had his best game, perhaps, but I've never seen him look so gutsy as far as doing whatever it takes to get that extra set of downs.  There are few quarterbacks that are really willing to put themselves on the line, and Garcia did that successfully without getting hurt.  Kudos to him for his effort. 

The 49ers' defense as a whole has really began to gel.  I loved watching Ahmed Plummer and Jason Webster reach around the Rams receivers and swat the ball away, and I was especially excited to se Plummer finally get his first career interception.  It was long due.  No longer will this defense be exploited by the deep pass.  No longer will the 49ers give up 35 points on a regular basis. Just wait till Julian Peterson comes back. 

Maybe Frisco needed this loss?  Maybe it will be enough to make this young team realize that it is better than people say.  Maybe the players will read the headlines saying that the 49ers "aren't ready for the big time" and set out to prove them wrong.  Well, if it'll help at all, I'll say it.  The 49ers aren't ready for the big time.

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