Training Camp Preview: Offensive Coaches
July 17 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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With all the positional previews wrapped up, I figured I’d take a moment and preview the 49ers coaching staff, which for the most part remains in tact from last season. I’ll throw head coach Steve Mariucci into the “Offensive Coaches” analysis, mainly because that’s what he’s know for, his offense. And of course, it makes the most sense to start with the head coach, when taking a look at the teams coaches…right?
Steve Mariucci is now regarded as one of the top coaches in the NFL. After brief flirtations this past year with Notre Dame, Tampa Bay and New Orleans, Mariucci appears committed to the 49ers organization. He has fired his agent that apparently got him into the whole mess with the team, and is on his way to regaining the trust of owner John York. Mariucci has done an incredible job with the 49ers, taking them through an ownership transition and a slew of salary cap problems to bring the 49ers back to the playoffs. Mariucci will be looking for a contract extension at the end of this season, and providing he can show that the team has improved since last season (maybe not in win loss records, but in actual cohesiveness and productivity) he should get the extension.
Working closely with Mariucci is offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp. Knapp was formerly the 49ers quarterback coach, and will be entering his second season in his current position. Knapp is expected to take on more responsibility this season, and to open up the offense a little bit. A very talented coach, Knapp is largely responsible for the success of Jeff Garcia.
Tom Batta moved in as tight end coach a few seasons ago as Pat Morris vacated the spot to take over for the late Bobb McKittrrick as offensive line coach. Batta and Morris will work very closely with one another this year, and each will be responsible to promote youthful players along the depth charts. Batta has a gem in his hands with Eric Johnson, while Morris has a rock solid offensive front with lots of youngsters at the depth positions.
Former 49ers back Tom Rathman, is the 49ers offensive backfield coach. Rathman has historically done an excellent job in his position, allowing several running and full backs to flourish under his command. Expect nothing to change for Rathman who is one of the most experience and best coaches on the 49ers.
George Stewart is the 49ers receiving coach. The former special teams coach move to the receiving position several seasons ago. This is likely going to be Stewart’s final season with the 49ers, as he looks to expand his horizons next season. Stewart has always had great talent to work with at the receiving position. This season should be no different.
Ted Tollner is the 49ers third quarterback’s coach in as many years. He is experienced and has worked with Steve Mariucci before, only with Mariucci working under him. The 49ers have lots of confidence that Tollner can continue the tradition they have established at the quarterback position. He will be instrumental in working with newcomers Brandon Doman and Cade McNown this off-season.
Jason Tarver is the offensive quality control coach. His job is to evaluate talent and help out all of the offensive coaches. He is one of the most versatile coaches on the roster, and has a bright future with the team.