Training Camp Battles Part V
July 9 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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It only makes sense that following a preview of the training camp battle at defensive tackle, to write a preview of the battle that will be taking place at defensive end. Simple logic, the way I see it. The defensive end battle, however, should be even greater. The only player who has a spot written in stone, former first round pick, and now second year player Andre Carter will be granted a starting defensive end position.
John Engelberger will be given the spot opposite Carter, as his to lose. But the 49ers are not guaranteeing him anything. The team has lots of competitors for the spot, and as good as Engelberger has proven to be, he still will have to work his tail off in camp to continue starting on the 49ers defensive line. Engelberger will see competition mainly from Chike Okeafor and Sean Moran, but may also see some competition from second year Menson Holloway, and third year Bobby Setzer.
Okeafor is probably the top challenger for Engelbergerís position. A veteran with the 49ers, who looked impressive last season before getting knocked out with injury, Okeafor may finally be showing the 49ers why they drafted him several years ago. Meanwhile the addition of Sean Moran to the team this season, gives the 49ers versatility at the spot, and lots of experience. Moran has been a solid contributor throughout his NFL career.
In Menson Holloway and Bobby Setzer the 49ers have two young defensive ends, both of whom are rather versatile. Both Holloway and Setzer will be fighting in camp to catch the eye of the coaches, considering there is so much talent ahead of them.
Itís likely that the 49ers will retain five defensive ends. Leaving, essentially one open spot, but the competition for play time will begin in training camp, and youíd better believe these defenders are ready. The 49ers are looking for a huge improvement from this unit over the past two seasons, and will not tolerate anything but that from this group.