Saga At WR
October 23 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Tai Streets has been giving it his all in place of the injured JJ Stokes, and over the past two games, has given the 49ers a whole lot to think about. Streets addition to the offense has not only allowed the team to go to a more vertical passing game, but has also relieved some of the pressure from Terrell Owens. One would think that Streets play over the past two weeks, would give the 49ers enough reason to move him ahead of JJ Stokes on the depth chart. That however is not the case.
Coach Mariucci has reiterated that players won’t lose their position on the depth charts due to injury. ”Our policy has been if a person has lost his starting job because of an injury, when he comes back full speed ahead, then he would get his starting job back.”
The 49ers believe that Stokes will be able to return this week, but won’t be 100% upon his return. “We might make Stokes active before he's 100 percent”. Depending on Stokes’ health he could be the team’s third or fourth receiver before re-affirming his spot in the starting line up.
Mariucci went on to state that once Stokes was ready to retake the field, they would have to determine the appropriate position for him. “At that point, we would have to determine what his role would be. Is it in his best interest to ease back in and play a handful of snaps, or be an emergency-type receiver? If he's 100 percent healthy, he'd get his job back.”
While Stokes will get his job back when the 49ers believe he is healthy again, he may only see it for one game, depending on how well Streets continues to play. With Stokes back in the starting position the 49ers would be able to give him his ‘final audition’ in the starting role. After that audition they can make a decision on whether Streets is better suited to start for this team without going against the team policy of players not losing their positions due to injury.