Stopping the Bomb---3/24/99

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One of the biggest problem the 49ers had last season was stopping the long pass. The defensive backs were constantly beat when the receivers went deep. This was especially true with the departed Antonio Langham, but it even happened when Pope played. Darnell Walker did well for the most part, but he too was beaten long, in many cases he just had enough speed to catch up while the ball was in the air. R.W. McQuarters on the other hand rarely got beaten deep, and even less of the time did he repeat the same mistake twice. McQuarters definitely has a future at corner back with the 49ers. He has made large strides in the limited time he had on the field.

The 9ers intend to address this situation over the off-season. For one thing, they are considering moving running back Chuck Levy to corner back. Levy is 6'1" and is one of the fastest players on the team. He never really found his own at running back, possibly because it is not a natural position for him to play. If Levy pans out, he would add much needed height to the defensive backfield. Height is vitle as receivers are reaching all time highs in height and vertical leaps. Covering a tall and athletic wide out such as Randy Moss is a near nightmare for just a speedy corner. Furthermore the 49ers are likely to draft some defensive backfield players, possible choices are: Fernando Bryant, Dre Bly, Chris McAlister and safety Anthony Pointexder. Bryant, Bly and McAlister would probably offer imediate help, while Pointexder would most likely re-hab his knee for the year, but still would be valuable for the future.

The 49ers were troubled at safety last season too, possibly because of Merton Hanks nagging injury. If Hanks returns to form which he promissed Bill Walsh he would do, then the 49ers will be very well off at safety. Hanks teamed with Tim McDonald who was one of the few bright points of the defensive backfield last season would make one of the great tandems in the NFL. However the tandem wont last long with backups Zack Bronson and Lance Schulters waiting in the wings, both of whom have great potential. Pointexder would be much help in the years to come after McDonald and Hanks retire (or in Hanks' case gets traded). Pointexder could also rival Lance Schulters for the future starting role.

With the draft fast approaching it will be interesting to see who the 9ers aim to pick up. With the signing of Travis Jervey, the void at running back is reduced, still the 9ers are talking with Eric Bienemy and and Vaugh Hebron. If eather of these guys sign Levy will either switch position, be traded or released, further impacting draft moves. The 49ers intend on improving the defensive backfield, and with the talent available they should be able to do so.

talk about it in the forum

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