Focus On Rams, What About Packers?
June 10 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The team has made beating the Rams a priority of this season, and have taken steps this off-season to insure that they will be able to do that. The team has improved its defense once again, with the addition of a linebacker and cornerback via the draft, and believes it has also bolstered the pass rush from last season. And while beating an opponent that has beat them twice in each of the past three years, and has owned the NFC West Crown - that the 49ers believe is rightfully theirs is important, certainly the team canít over look the Packers.
The Packers will come to town to face the 49ers this season, and with Brett Favre still at quarterback will no doubt be one of the biggest tests of the season. Should the 49ers and Packers make the playoffs, there is also a good chance that the teams will meet for the second consecutive year (does that sound familiar to anyone?). So I believe that finding a way to beat the Rams, is important, but beating the Packers is close if not equally as important.
The 49ers were conquered in the playoffs because Green Bay was able to spread its offense wide, taking advantage of a lack of depth at cornerback. The 49ers believe they have made the necessary adjustments to fix that type of situation. But the Packers defense and ability to control a game is what the 49ers need to concentrate on.
Last season, the Packers line ripped into Jeff Garcia. They disrupted his timing and made the game a misery for the Pro Bowl quarterback. While Jeff Garcia certainly has learned from the situation, the play from the offensive line in this game will be instrumental.
The Packers also have an uncanny ability to dictate the flow of a game. The 49ers used to be able to do this too, and are getting better at it now - but must be able to play their own game, and not stray from their game plan. To do that, they will have to knock the Packers off what they plan for the game and that wont be easy.
The Rams are Packers are among the most elite teams in the NFL. If the 49ers build to beat both teams, and not just the one, they will likely be much stronger because of it.