Where The 49ers Have Improved Part 2
May 3 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
In part 2 of this series of articles, I examine how the 49ers have improved a linebacking core by only adding one player.
The 49ers started last season with a rather solid set of linebackers. Nothing flashy other than Julian Petersonís potential, and whole lot of depth. As the season progressed, it appeared that although the group was not the best in the league, they could certainly pull their own weight. Towards the end of the season it became apparent that the 49ers had four potential starting linebackers on the team.
Over the course of this off-season the 49ers lost a key player on the depth chart in Terry Killens, but replaced him with third round draft pick Saleem Rasheed. Rasheed brings more to the field than Killens did but lacks the experience that Killens did have. He should however provide a smooth transition to the loss.
The truth of the matter is that the 49ers upgrade at this position will come from either the promotion of Jamie Winborn who looked awesome at the end of last season, or from both Winborn and Rasheed pushing last seasons starting trio. Anyway you look at it, this group should be improved over last season.
If Jim Mora feels that the improvement is substantial enough, Julian Peterson may be unleashed this season, that could mean that on passing downs Rasheed would enter in place of Peterson who would move to end in place of John Engelberger. Itís a formation that certainly could wreak havoc on opposing offensive coordinators.