Garcia Takes Charge
May 5 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Since Jeff Garcia joined the 49ers and became the starting quarterback, we’ve seen two different men tossing passes for the team. The first Jeff Garcia was lost, confused and disorientated. He had not mastered the playbook, and likely was just ‘winging it’ his whole time on the field. More recently we’ve seen a Jeff Garcia whose poised, calm, collected, quite, making smart decisions and has been among the league leaders in passing. When the 2002-3 season starts, we will see Jeff Garcia III take the field.
Garcia spent his first off-season trying to make the 49ers roster. His second was spent trying to learn the 49ers playbook. He spent his third off-season with the 49ers studying opposing team’s defenses and the playbook. And he has spent this off-season bulking up along with continuing to improve his knowledge of the 49ers offense, and the opposition. Garcia looks stronger in practice, he continues to look quick and fit, but those won’t be the only changes to Jeff Garcia when he takes the field.
Jeff will be entering his third full season as the 49ers starting quarterback, and he has spent this off-season preparing for it. He’s done more than workout, and continue to improve his knowledge though. He’s also taken on a much larger leadership role with the team. Late last season Garcia was included on Mariucci’s player input team. A team that helps decide on game planning. That was the first step. This off-season Garcia has taken charge in mini-camp. He has spoken out on issues regarding the team, and he is attempting to work with Terrell Owens to improve the communication between them.
Jeff Garcia III is likely to be the best version we’ve seen yet. His added strength and knowledge along with the feeling that it is his team, and the respect that goes along with such a leadership role will make him a better player. Jeff has already shown he can play with the ‘big boys’ if the third version of him is any better than the second, maybe -just maybe people will begin to utter his name alongside of Steve Young’s and Joe Montana’s, not necessarily as an equal, but as part of the 49ers long line of success. To be their equal, of course, Garcia will need to sustain winning seasons for a long period of time, and take the 49ers to the Promised Land at least once.