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Article Title: Garcia AGAIN.
Article Date: Nov 27 2003
By Bryan Hersh

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Jeff Garcia will be back at quarterback when the 49ers head to Baltimore this weekend. After missing a month of play time, Head Coach Dennis Erickson declared that Jeff Garcia had reclaimed his mobility, and is ready to return to run the 49ers offense. In Jeff’s absence the 49ers won two of three games, during which Tim Rattay made a legitimate case to hold onto the starting position in the offense. Certainly, Rattay showed that he is far more accurate on the deep passes than Garcia. He had also been playing behind a much stronger offensive line. A case can be made for starting Rattay not even based on his past performances. At some point the 49ers will have to see how Rattay can handle a tough blitz, to see exactly what they have in him, this game would certainly provide that opportunity. Nevertheless on Wednesday, Jeff Garcia was proclaimed the starter.

The 49ers are as banged up now as they have been throughout the season. The offensive line will not look anything like it has the past three weeks, and the 49ers may be without their most productive cornerback this season in Mike Rumph. The team remains without Jamie Winborn, and with Saleem Rasheed not stepping up his play, this loss is extremely painful. Finally aside from a few other minor injuries, Julian Peterson has had the flu this week. When one person on the team has the flu it tends to spread throughout the team, so the team may be sick and dehydrated this weekend.

The Ravens have a very aggressive defense, and with the 49ers offensive line in shambles, Jeff Garcia is likely to get pounded. This could very well make it difficult on Garcia to get any rhythm going. The 49ers will have to use the run game and screen passes to exploit the blitz. On offense, the Ravens have a lot of speed, and big men up front. Stopping the run game has to be a priority, and the 49ers will depend on their speed to do just that.

To make matters worse for the 49ers, they are yet to win on the road. They will have some big hurdles to stride over to win this game. It all starts with the battle in the trenches. If the 49ers can win, give Garcia some time to throw, and establish the run game – and on the flip side stop the run game – it will go a long ways towards victory. Don’t expect to see Tim Rattay back on the field in this game, particularly if Garcia is getting pounded. It is unlikely the team will want to subject both of their quarterbacks to that type of punishment.