Breaking It Down
September 03 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers assembled their 53 man roster on Sunday and it broke down in a rather untraditional format. Keeping two place kickers, eight linebackers and six running backs, the 49ers put together 53 men they are confident in but that is ‘light’ at some positions.
The quarterback position saw no changes. Jeff Garcia, Tim Rattay and Brandon Doman remain the team’s at the position.
At running back the 49ers did keep Jamal Robertson, giving them a tandem of six running backs, with Hearst, Barlow, Beasley, Smith, Jackson and of course Robertson, that could be the best tandem in the league.
Some are surprised that including long snapper Brian Jennings the team has kept four tight ends. The team decided that Anelli was to big a prospect to risk on the waivers, and so they kept him. Johnson and Swift will continue to see most of the action though.
The team decided that four receivers was all they needed, and so James Jordan became expendable. Barring injuries Owens, Stokes, Streets and Wilson will hold down the position this season. The team likely feels that finding an extra receiver is pretty easy at any point during the season, and so being light at this position doesn’t bother them that much.
Along the offensive line, the surprise move was the release of Dave Costa in order to keep rookie Kyle Kosier on the roster. The team believes Kosier has a bigger upside than Costa. The remaining line includes Scott Grag, Ron Stone, Jeremy Newberry, Dave Fiore, Derrick Deese with backups Matt Willig, Ben Lynch and rookie Eric Heitmann.
On the other side of the trenches, the team cut former first round draft pick Reggie McGrew and veteran Bobby Setzer in favor of defensive end Jerome Davis. Davis should be a key contributor this year. The team added Garrett Johnson off waivers from the Broncos along the defensive line, but that could change if and when Josh Shaw becomes healthy enough to make the roster. Okeafor, Engelberger, Young, Stubblefield, Carter, Moran and Flanigan round out the line. Flanigan is questionable for this weeks game, and with Engelberger out, the signing of a player like Johnson was a necessary move.
The team went heavy at linebacker with choosing to keep Sewart, Strong and Moore. As Ulbrich and Rasheed are currently banged up, keeping this many linebackers made sense. The team released Moore on Monday though, as they made room for Johnson along the defensive line. Peterson, Smith and Winborn will be the team’s opening game starters.
The team believes it has improved its cornerback position greatly over last season. Ahmed Plummer and Jason Webster hold down the starting spots. The team is confident in Rumph, Williams and Holman on the depth chart.
The 49ers had to go light at safety in order to have room for an extra two linebackers, a running back and a place kicker. As a result, the team cut veteran Chad Cota and Al Blades, and will begin the season with just three safeties, Bronson, Parrish and Schulters. Bronson, Parish, Heard
The roster is hardly set in stone. As player become healthy, particularly at linebacker there will be some changes. If a guy like Josh Shaw can get himself in gear soon, the team may add him at defensive tackle. The team may also promote from their practice squad, or through the waiver wires to help solidify even the bottom end of the roster.
Injured Reserve - CB Anthony Parker, S Kevin Curtis
Reserved/Non-Football Injury - C/G Milford Stephenson, DT Josh Shaw, QB Cade McNown
Reserved/Physically Unable to Perform - DE/DT Junior Bryant