Rumph Getís Pick On
October 30 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Itís standard for NFL teams to try and pick on rookies, particularly when their on defense, so it should come as no surprise that teams are attacking rookie cornerback Mike Rumph. Rumph was supposed to step in and solidify the pass defense, particularly on third downs - and the first round draft pick has helped, but he isnít reaching the 49ers expectations of him.
All rookies need some time to reach their potential; all rookies need to gain valuable experience before they can really make a difference in a defense. Rumph is no different, he needs time, maybe even the full season to adjust, just like Ahmed Plummer and Jason Webster had to a few seasons ago.
In the mean time, teams will continue to throw in Rumphís direction and force him to make plays. Rumph needs to be physical in order to be effective, but in the last five games, heís been flagged four times for excessive force penalties. Unfortunately the four penalties came at rather crucial times for the defense.
Mike Rumph will continue to be under fire, but he does have the talent to make plays and be a good corner in the NFL. He simply needs time to adjust to the talent level of the NFL. In the mean time as the 49ers secondary gets healthier, Rumph may benefit from different defensive lineups.
Further - After watching the past seven games, and watching Jason Webster shift inside to the slot when Rumph comes onto the field, itís come to my attention that Webster is actually a better defender playing the outside corner than he is in the slot. Perhaps the 49ers should try keeping him outside, and shifting Rumph inside to the slot and see how effective that is.