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Coaching Review
September 06 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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On the one hand you have to admire that the 49ers coaching staff stuck to their offensive game plan. On the other hand, you have to wonder why the coaching staff kept to the offensive game plan. If you have a third and four hand, youíd have to respect the 49ers defensive game plan, and admire the way the coaching staff had the team focused for the opening game.

That the 49ers walked a way with a win in this one is a really a testament to this team being in close games, and rallying in the past. The team clearly still knows how to win the close ones. That this game was close though, was clearly due to the faltering of the offense, and some heroic defensive play.

The 49ers opened up their offense in the first half. Mariucci tried to satisfied his critics, forcing the ball to Terrell Owens. Owens had three guys around him for nearly the entire game, and while the 49ers made some minor adjustments they could have done more. The coaching staff should have used formations, with Owens lining up in the backfield, or with Hearst as a receiver with Owens and Stokes, and Barlow in the backfield to help loosen up the coverage on Owens. They didnít, and as a result had a very tough day against him.

The Giants challenged the 49ers offense to beat them without Terrell Owens and while the 49ers managed to do so, they had lots of difficulty. The coaching staff need more plays where JJ Stokes is the first or second read in the defense, so that Garcia can go to a receiver when Owens is triple covered. Clearly the coaching staff could have improved here.

As the game wore on, the team tried running a little, but was quick to abandon it in short yardage situations. This is something that, when the ball isnít moving threw the air, simply shouldnít happen.

The defensive coaching staff called a good game. They blitzed often and as a result were able to make some good defensive plays. Still there were times when the 49ers were not aggressive enough, sitting back in coverage. On long yardage plays, the 49ers coaching staff has to keep the pressure on the opposition.

The 49ers may not have been that well prepared for the game. They didnít have lots of preparation time for the Giants, and the offense had very little time to work with each other. Still they remained focused, not committing many penalties or turnovers and coming up with the big plays when they needed to. That is a by-product of good coaching.

The coaching staff will have to improve its ability to prepare the team, and its ability to adapt as the game wears on if they intend to compete with high powered teams. In playing the Broncos next, the 49ers will have another good test as to where they measure up.

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