Stopping Sharpe Key To Winning
September 11 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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In the West Coast Offense, the tight end is a key position. Often the second receiver in the progression of a play, the tight end is an integral part of the offense. The position, of course was best held by former 49ers tight end, Brent Jones. Both the 49ers and the Broncos run versions of the West Coast Offense. The 49ers utilize Eric Johnson, a second year player out of Yale to man their position. The Broncos have re-acquired Shannon Sharpe, possibly the leagues most explosive players at the position, to boost their offense.
Stopping Shannon Sharpe, as an outlet receiver this weekend will be key to the 49ers ability to stop the Broncos offense. Sharpe is probably the best pass catching tight end in the league right now, and the Broncos utilize his position slightly different than how the 49ers use their tight end.
The Broncos have several designed plays to Sharpe, where Sharpe is the primary read on for their quarterback. This is distinctly different than the 49ers who have few if any plays where the quarterback looks to the tight end before he does the receivers.
The 49ers faced a team in week one, in the Giants, who also had a good pass catching tight end. Jeremy Schockey, however is a rookie, and still has to adjust to the NFL. Shannon Sharpe however, is a veteran of the game and does not need to learn how to handle the pressures of the NFL. He will be a bigger threat this week than Schockey was last week, and the 49ers will need their talented linebackers to take him out of the game in order to be victorious in week two.