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Evaluating The Success Of A Season Part 2 - By Bryan Hersh

Before I begin part two of my latest series of articles I would like to ask you all to do me a favour. I have spent about 8 hours over the last three days trying to ‘reorganize’ the file structure of the site. Essentially this means that rather than having all of the files in one folder on the webserver (very messy), I have split it up into different categories. For example, where as the Joe Montana biography on this site used to be located at 49ersparadise.cjb.net/montana.html it is now located at 49ersparadise.com/biographies/montana.html undoubtedly this will result in some bookmarks, links, and images coming up with an error. I have obviously done my best and a whole lot of testing to make sure that these pages are accessible and that people will be able to find what they are looking for. With thousands of pages on this site though, there is no way I can come close to testing every page in such a short period of time. So I am asking that, as you all browse through 49ers Paradise, if you stumble across a broken link or missing image, please let me know so that I can fix it. One primary area that I know needs attention is actually with all the images in the different player and coach biographies. Other than that though, I have not stumbled upon many other errors. Thank you for your patience, and I apologize if this re-organization inconveniences anyone. Please know that a more organized site will only help me maintain it better, and thus help 49ers Paradise grow into an even better site!

In part two of this pre-training camp series I am going to focus on the importance of finding a quarterback that the team can depend on for years to come. I am, by my own admission a Jeff Garcia fan. I am by no means blind to his weaknesses, but I am certainly well aware of his accomplishments and what he did do on the field. While not all of you feel this way, and certainly some of you would disagree that releasing him this off-season was a bold move; I am quite certain that every 49ers fan believes that consistency at quarterback is important. To a greater extent I believe most 49ers fans believe that consistency at quarterback is an integral part of a winning organization.

Joe Montana and Steve Young are the quarterbacks that will forever be the benchmarks in San Francisco. Among the many accomplishments of these two is the longevity at which they were at the heights of their games. Great careers are not built around a single season, or even three or four. A quarterback who can perform at a high level for a long period of time, the better part of a decade at least, is the key to creating a football team that can win consistently. Having that corner stone on the team allows consistency to develop at other positions. Receivers build a rapport with the quarterback. They are in sync. The offensive line knows how to protect for the quarterback, running backs know how to take a hand off and a tight end knows when they have to bail out the quarterback. It all comes down to that one position, and it is the consistency that allows teams to plug in players at other positions who can immediately pick up with where there predecessor had started off. And so with the 49ers shaking up the position getting the right man in place the first time is extremely important.

Shuffling quarterbacks mid-season is never the ideal situation, and so making sure that the 49ers pick the correct starter from day one is immensely important. Given that this starter will be young and inexperienced regardless of who the team selects only furthers this importance. Whoever the 49ers select at quarterback has the odds stacked against them and more likely than not will struggle – hopefully only this struggling will only be temporary. The struggling of a quarterback often tempts a coach to make a switch, and that is why it is so important that the team get the right man in pre-season to lead this team. Having to bench any quarterback is awful for the ego, and often makes it even harder for that player to reach their potential. The 49ers have to be prepared to really stick it out with whichever quarterback they select- otherwise not only might they bruise the quarterback mentally so badly that he will be unable to perform in the future, but controversy could ensue, and the locker room can be split down the middle. No team needs that, and the 49ers being an especially young team, need it even less.

Although reports are that Tim Rattay’s recovery from a groin injury earlier this summer is a head of schedule, there is little doubt in my mind that his absence from team practices in mini-camp and at the start of training camp will effect the 49ers quarterback position. Rattay, the most veteran of the QB squad (and really that does not say much), was handed the job after the 49ers ousted Jeff Garcia. The 49ers are reportedly confident that Rattay has enough experience to overcome the lack of practice time, I however, am more skeptical. After watching Ken Dorsey perform as a rookie in pre-season last year, I cannot help but question the 49ers decision to give Rattay the starting quarterback position as ‘his to lose’. I have nothing against Rattay, and think he performed quite well in two out of three games last season, but Dorsey’s performance should be reason enough to have let the quarterbacks compete on an even playing ground. In the end, the best man may win, but with all the extra practice time Dorsey has been, and will be receiving, I will be very surprised if Rattay is indeed still the leading candidate at the opening of the season.

The 49ers have four young and inexperienced quarterbacks on their roster. Aside from Rattay and Dorsey, the team has Brandon Doman and rookie Cody Pickett. In all likelihood one of these men will be cut by the start of the season (though the 49ers may try and sneak them on to the practice squad). Nevertheless, the competition is most fierce between Rattay and Dorsey, and with both of these men vying so heavily for a starting position, the 49ers will have to throw their support behind one or the other. Failure to fully commit to one quarterback could very well mean a quarterback controversy every year for the next three years. As I have already stressed, consistency at the quarterback position is of the utmost experience for a team that wants to be successful. That is why this season, with this group of quarterback is so important to the 49ers future. It is of paramount importance that the 49ers finish the season knowing unquestionably who the quarterback next season will be. That is a measurement of a successful season this year. May the best man win!