Introduceing your 1998-99 49ers!

The 49ers have made many changes in the off-season. However as it stands right now, they are not planning on making any significant moves. The team seems to be set for next season. Here is a look position by position, player by player of what's to come.

Starting at offense, the head of the team, quarter back Steve Young. A veteran of the NFL who may finally achieve an injury free season. Young is a threat in the air and on the ground. He is noted as one of the best QBs in the NFL and an average running back. Backing him up are TY Detmer and Jim Druckenmiller. TY is the veteran QB the 49ers have been looking for ever since the departure of Steve Bono. He grew up under the coaching of Steve Mariucci in Green Bay, he was then taken away by the Eagles where he started, but was never given the chance to really make it. At the age of 30 he is the ideal back up who could carry the load if necessary and could be used in the transition to Jim Druckenmiller. Jim Drukenmiller is a second year player out of Virginia Tech. He is as strong as a bull, and is very intelligent. He will likely be the QB of the future for the 49ers. He is very studious spending tons of time with the coaching staff during the off-season watching game film, learning the offense. With these three QBs the 49ers are set. However they also have Thad Bubsy a very talented rookie who can be activated in case of emergency.

Moving on to the offensive backfield, here the 49ers are in good shape assuming Marc Edwards lives up to the expectation. Their starting tail back is Garrison Hearst. He is an explosive back who will have no problem hitting the holes. He has good cutting ability but has a reputation for being injury prone. If he stays healthy, no worries. Blocking for him should be full back Marc Edwards. A second year player who will see alot of practise to make sure he is comfortable in the 49ers offense when the season starts. He has speed and good hands, and should pick up the slack and more left by Floyd. Backing them up are explosive back Chuck Levy who has blast off speed and receiver hands (he may also see some time at WR and KR). Further more there is first year Fred Beasely out of Auburn along with rookies Reyanrd Rutherford, Brock Olivio and Pepe Pearson. All have the ability to be good back ups. Lastly there is Shon Mitchell and Ed Scissum.

Moving up front to the big five, where the 49ers have worked hard to add depth and skill over the off-season. It has been a very long time since the 49ers have had such a large and skill full offensive lineman. Starting with newly acquired Jamie Brown, who is almost as big as Gogan. He started with Denver until Gary Zimmerman came back from retirement. He will surely help open holes for the running backs and also help protect Steve Young. Moving over there is the mammoth Kevin Gogan at 6 foot 7, 330 pounds he is the biggest on the offensive line. In the center is Chris Dalman he is young and skill full. He is quick off the snap and is a solid anchor to the line. Moving right there is Ray Brown at 26 years old he will surely remain in place for a while. Lastly there is Derrick Deese, who somehow is the week link in the 49ers offensive line. Weighing in at 275 pounds and standing 6 foot three inches tall, he is actually the smallest of the linemen. However what he lacks in size he makes up in speed, athleticism and versatility. This newly revamped offensive line is surely to make big holes and provide big protection for Steve Young. The 49ers made it their business to add depth on the offensive front and that they did, drafting and signing the following players: 6-4, 313 pound Jeremy Newberry, 6-5, 313 pound Chris Rhuman, 6-4, and 281 pound Phil Ostrowski. Remaining from last year are back ups: 6-1, 281 pound Joe Rudolph, 6-3, 316 pound Dan Finn, 6-4, 275 pound Dave Fiore, 6-5, 300 pound Tim Hanshaw6-5, 285 pound Frank Pollack, and 6-4, 286 pound Harris Barton who will likely be released. Not all these line men will make the team but they will have a lot of depth when the season comes around.

Moving out a little wider, are tight ends Greg Clark and Irv Smith. Greg Clark is a second year player out of California University. He showed flashed of brilliance last year during limited action. He has better hands then the 49ers expected, and is a solid blocker. Irv Smith was acquired through free agency, he is a veteran player who is very reliable. Backing them up is rookie Broch Blachford.

Finishing up the offensive at WR are: Jerry Rice need I say more. Terrell Owens a solid receiver with good hands and strength who really stepped it up last season. JJ Stokes who had a break through season last year. The three of them should see time together, and will be a serious threat. Backing them up are: Iheanyi Uwaezoke who will probably see most of his action returning kicks with RW McQuarters. Mark Harris who will have a tough time making the team this year even with his reliable hands and good skill. Then there is rookie Ryan Thewell. The 49ers have tons of confidence in this young one, so much so that they traded back into the 7th round to acquire him. The 49ers also have Curtis Shearer, rookies Kevin McKenzie, Shawn Scales and Carl Lerum.

Switching to the defensive side of the ball where the 49ers have some major changes especially in their starting eleven. On the line, the 49ers have Roy Barker, the 36 year old veteran who had double digit sacs last year. Then there is Bryant Young the defensive tackle who is known as the best in the league. Next to him is Junior Bryan, who had 6 sacs last year off the bench. On the other side is Chris Doleman, recently re-signed for 5 years, he is a pass rushing specialist who is excellent against the run. The 49ers also acquired Gabe Wilkins from Green Bay via free agency. He was a starter and could play anywhere on the line, he will likely split time with Roy Barker and Chris Doleman. The 49ers also acquired veterans Shane Bonohan, Troy Wilson and the large Brentson Buckner along with Daryl Price, Albert Reese and Carlos Thronton make valiant backups. Behind them are rookies: Brandon Noble, Jeff Posey, Craig Charles, Bill Duff and Curtis Eason.

Behind them are the linebackers: Ken Norton Jr. the punch out of line backers, who holds more then his own. In the middle is newly aquired Winfred Tubbs. Replacing Plummer in the middle, wont be easy, but if any one can it will be Tubbs. On the other side is Lee Woodall. Woodall is know as one of the hardest hitting players in the league. Backing them up are veterans: James Williams, Jim Schwantz, Randy Kirk and Anthony Peterson. Along with young players like: Vincent Bradford, Tom Cavallo and rookies Andy Clifton, and Jim Nelson. That rounds out the front 7 of defense.

In the backfield are the defensive backs and safeties. Starting at defensive back are newly acquired Antonio Langham, the 26 year old who should really bolster the defense. Opposite him is Marqueze Pope. Pope is solid at DB, but was slowed by a foot injury last year. He will soon be moved to strong safety. Backing them up are: Darnell Walker, who did an excellent job for Pope last season, Zach Bronson, Curtis Buckley (the special team wonder), first round draft pick RW McQuaters, and other rookies Mario Bradely (who really impressed the 49ers coaches), Lance Schulters the 4th round pick, and Tyrone Smith. At free safety is Merton Hanks and at strong safety is Tim McDonald who is nearing the end of his carear. They are backed up by all the aforementioned defensive back, back ups.

Rounding out the team are kickers Tommy Thompson (punter), and place kickers John Becksvoort and Tucker Phillips. With a team like this one can be assured that the 49ers are solid in every position. It will be interesting to see how they handle the excessive talent on the defensive line, and the enlarged offensive line. Not to disclude the projected starters they aquired like Irv Smith, Antonio Langham, Winfered Tubbs, Jamie Brown and possibly Gabe Wilkins. Still Greg Clark and Marc Edwards should be fun to watch.

I hope that you enjoyed this article. I am still awaiting some feed back on this section of my page, thus if you have a comment or idea please let me know!

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