Still Thin At Linebacker
November 1 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers will once again be thin at linebacker this week when they match up against the Raiders. This of course is bad news for the defense, particularly because the team will be facing the leagues top runner in terms of yards per carry, in running back Charlie Garner. Garner, a former 49er himself, is a very quick back that is hard to get a hold of in the open field. He has to be licking his chops as he looks at very beat up group of linebackers for the 49ers.
Saleem Rasheed is not expected to play this week. Rasheed will be missing his second consecutive week, and is the type of linebacker that would match up well against running backs like Garner, because of his speed. The 49ers are hoping Rasheed can return to the field next week.
Jamie Winborn resumed running this week, but the 49ers don’t expect to have him either. Winborn has been out since September 22nd and has had his place taken by Jeff Ulbrich. This of course would not be that bad, if Ulbrich himself was not battling injury.
The depth chart is further hampered by the loss of Frank Strong for the season last week. Quincy Stewart who saw his first defensive action in the second half of last week’s game -when Ulbrich went down, is now the primary backup at linebacker.
The 49ers started the season with lots of depth at linebacker. Injuries however have severely hampered the depth and in process the entire defense. The 49ers will have a hard time this week stopping the Raiders running back with their beat up linebacking core - expect the Raiders to try and exploit this miss-match.