Alas, Streets Cleared
November 8 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Steve Mariucci finally made the decision as to who to start between a healthy JJ Stokes and an ever improving Tai Streets. The verdict is in, and Streets will remain the starting receiver in the 49ers offense. The decision is regarded as the right one by just about everyone, despite the 49ers tendency to starters not to lose their positions due to injury.
The offense has simply been way more productive with Streets starting - whether that’s a coincidence or not is unknown, but with the offense hot, there’s no reason to change things up. Stokes will see an increase in production from last week, as he will move the third receiver position instead of the fourth.
The 49ers don’t plan on changing their offense up very much, but do go to a three receiver set about 50% of the time. In such sets Stokes, at least for now will become the secondary threat, moving Streets back to where he’s been practicing for most of his career.
“We are just going to play offense like we do. At least half the time, we are in our three and four receiver sets. So when J.J. comes in our as our third receiver, he goes back to the ‘x’ and we move Tai Streets to where he was training for two years,” said Mariucci. Mariucci then added “J.J. will start in some of those sets. We’re trying to keep Tai on the field as well. We’ll accomplish both things - Tai is going to stay on the field and J.J. will have a larger role this game.”
Make no mistake about it though, it’s Streets who is the second starting receiver in the offense. “I think when it’s all said and done and when you count the number of snaps that each receiver gets, [Stokes] will probably have the third amount of snaps. He will start in some of the personnel groups.” Mariucci explained.
There’s no reason to change the offense now that it is firing on all cylinders, and it’s important that Mariucci made this decision. Streets and Stokes don’t see each other as opponents either, which means there is no adverse reaction from Stokes about the change. ``Everything is cool,'' Streets said. ``We've got a tight receiving corps. Everybody is pulling for each other.''
Streets continued to deflect the praise of the media. ``We're just clicking a little better right now, You can't just key on one guy. Everyone's getting involved and that's what makes a good offense.'' As Stokes comes back into the offense, he 49ers should be able to attack even more. Letting him move into the ‘x’ position in the offense in three receiver sets however may not be the best move, given Streets production from that position over the last four games. Expect the 49ers to try Stokes at the position, and if he doesn’t produce make a complete switch.