Streets To See More Time
October 12 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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As days tick by to the 49ers first Monday night appearance of the 2002-3 season, it sounds more and more like receiver JJ Stokes will not be in the starting line up. Stokes sprained his MCL in last weekís game against the Rams, and had to leave the game. His two catch performance against the Rams included a touchdown, and 50+ yard play that was the longest of the 49ers young season.
Third string receiver Tai Streets assumed Stokesí position for the remainder of the game. He caught two passes, but had very few opportunities given the 49ers large lead and ability to run against the Rams. While head coach Mariucci didnít want to tip his hat as early in the week, to who would start if Stokes was out, he did eventually confess that it would be Streets, and not Cedrick Wilson who had a phenomenal pre-season.
JJ Stokes suffered the same injury last season but in his opposite knee. He was able to return to face the Rams, but dropped four passes in a sluggish performance. Stokes believes that heíll be able to play this Monday night, and the extra day of rest may help, but the 49ers may rest him to avoid a repeat of last yearís sluggish performance.
Even if Stokes is healthy enough to play, he may not get the nod. For the first time in years Stokesí salary is not so astronomically high that the 49ers canít afford to bench him. Given that they have to young and hopefully up and coming receivers on their squad, they may use this opportunity to let the youngsters strut their stuff.
More than likely it will be Tai Streets lining up opposite receiver Terrell Owens, and while Stokes appeared to be getting back on track with his last outing, the change in the offense, that will include Cederick Wilsonís involvement for really the first extended time this season may help boost the 49ers offense.