August 11 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Calling Terrell Owens a man amongst boys is like calling William Shakespeare a good play write. Both are massive understatements. Owens needed just one play to prove why he is among the NFLís elite at his position. A 71-yard touchdown reception thrown by Garcia who was under great pressure gave Owens an opportunity to show his strength and speed as he ran past some defenders and bulldozed others. If this is the new Owens, well Iím happy.
Not to be upstaged, JJ Stokes made a fingertip grab while tip toeing down the sideline. It was a pretty good day for the 49ers receivers as Tai Streets made a few key receptions and Cedrick Wilson just seemed to be open quite a bit. Nate Jackson had a few opportunities too, managing to get open later in the game. Eric Johnsonís contributions to the passing game were key, as he provided a great safety blanket for Jeff Garcia. Vinny Sutherland did not look very good in the few snaps he had at wide receiver.
Speaking of Jeff Garcia, he opened the game more on target that normal. Garcia was on target throughout the first quarter, but because of the quick strike to Owens was only in for 9 passes. Still he completed 66% of them. Tim Ratty looked better at quarterback but still isnít ready yet. Ratty will continue to improve as his game repetitions increase. He should also get an opportunity to play with the first string players. Brandon Doman looked a little better too. Doman was reacting better to the pressure. The interception he threw was a ill advised pass. He had audibled because of something he saw in the defense, and was right to, and that definitely shows a maturity within the offense. Doman continues to have a lot of zip on the ball.
Garrison Hearst just wasnít seeing the holes in the 49ers second pre-season game. Itís not that Hearst looked bad, itís just that he didnít look as good running the ball as he normally does. He was however great in pass blocking. Fullback Fred Beasley used to be able to catch the ball. But last season the 49ers relegated Beasley to mainly blocking, and this pre-season Beasley seems too eager to make a big play, in order to give coaches a reason to get him the ball more. As a result Beasley has been dropping passes in just about everyone of his opportunities this summer. Itís time for Beasley to calm down and catch the ball before he tries to make the big play. Kevan Barlow had a rare fumble, perhaps itís what he needs after having a very supercilious off-season. Paul Smith did a good job at fullback but continues to need work on blocking higher on the defenders. Saldin McCullough was the teamís leading rusher, and looked good, albeit against the Chiefs weaker defense.
The offensive line continues to shuffle along, but that should stop with the long week of practice ahead. They did a good job too, despite allowing two sacks later in the game. David Costa and Eric Heitamnn looked the best of the depth players. What can be said about Dave Fiore other than heís simply a tremendous all around offensive line player.
The special teams were far from fantastic. No player really edging out at any of the skill positions. The containment on returns was improved until the final kick of the game. Jeff Chandler had an embarrassing kickoff to start the game, and there were no significant punt or kick returns to speak of.