Training Camp Non-Battles Part II
July 16 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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In the final preview of positions on the 49ers that won’t see many battles this training camp, I take a look at the 49ers receiving position. This article also concludes positional previews for training camp. Look for the training camp coaching previews over the next few days.
The 49ers are pretty set with their starting receivers. Terrell Owens will be back and ready for action in the 49ers primary role. Owens has had a very productive off-season, coming to a new understanding with coach Mariucci, putting their differences aside. He also took part in the USBL, playing for the Adriondack Wildcats. Owens is in great football condition, and has been focusing on nothing but football since the 49ers last mini-camp.
Opposite Owens, is where you can find JJ Stokes, who barring an incredibly productive showing from third receiver Tai Streets, will once again man the 49ers second receiving role. Stokes took a pay cut this season to stick with the 49ers. He is known for not living up to the potential the 49ers saw in him to trade up in the first round of the draft, but makes a living making clutch catches on third downs and finding his way into the endzone. Stokes has the surest hands on the team. He rarely puts up big numbers, but if he can really get on the same page as quarterback Jeff Garcia this training camp, things could get scary by the start of the season.
As mentioned, the 49ers tertiary receiving threat is Tai Streets. Streets has battle injuries throughout his time with the 49ers. For the first time in his career he is healthy going into training camp, and has looked rather good in mini-camps. The 49ers hope Tai Streets can really push JJ Stokes this season.
Next on the depth chart is Cederick Wilson who was drafted last season. Wilson has an un-glamorous rookie season, but looked very good in mini-camp. The 49ers would love to have Wilson really come through this training camp as a threat.
The team could carry up to six receivers, if so, there would likely be a battle for the final two spots. Nate Jackson, who is highly regarded by Bill Walsh, but a bit slow, would likely be a candidate for one spot, while Mike Jennings, a former college sprinter and Donnie O’Neal who looked good in mini-camp would be two other strong candidates. The team also has Corey Brown, Scot Cloman, and James Jordan currently on their roster.
The 49ers receiving position has gone through an interesting off-season. At one point it appeared that the 49ers were interested in upgrading the position, and now they seem rather content with who they have. The team, and its fans would like to see more production come from the secondary spot, but the 49ers have done little to present JJ Stokes with a challenge for that spot this summer, rather they are leaving it up to guys that have been on the roster before to bring the challenge.