One of the biggest questions regarding the 49ers future is will Jim Drukenmiller be the quarterback of the future? Many people speculate that the 49ers will attempt to trade him after this season. Only after they showcase him in games where they are blowing out the other team by the fourth quarter. Drukenmiller has done very little so far as a 49er and it would not be much of a surprise to see the 49ers let him go. Originally expectations ran high for him. He was the number one rater quarterback in the draft, ahead of Jake Plummer and Pat Barnes. However Drukenmillerís stay with the 49ers has shown that he may not have what it takes to be a 49ers quarterback. He is to slow on reads, and timing is crucial in the West Coast offense. His lack of mobility is the least of his concern. He has the potential to flourish, but the West Coast offense might not be the right place for him. Pat Barnes, who Mariucci coached at California University is currently a free agent, after being released by Kansas City (didnít want to play World League) and Washington. Mariucci still likes Barnes, and the 49ers are planning on working him out and possibly signing him to the practice squad (they need to make sure his wrist has healed). Before the 1997 draft, many people believed that Mariucci wanted to draft Barnes, but he was over ruled and they drafted Drukenmiller. Mariucci may get his quarterback after all. In the mean time they have back up Ty Detmer who the 49ers acquired via free-agency this off-season. He provides a thorough knowledge of the system and can step in if needed, maybe even for a year or two to allow for a new quarterback to learn the system. The other option would be to look toward this years draft where there should be several good college quarterbacks. The 49ers may elect to trade up and draft one, hopefully one that has the football intelligence required to run such an efficient offense.
The other big question surrounding the 49ers is their ownership. With Eddie Debartlo recently side stepping jail by giving a testimony to a Baton Rouge federal grand jury about why he paid former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards $400,000 to help him obtain a casino gaming license. This will gains him some ground in re-securing the 49ers under his ownership. Debartlo wants to trade his portion of the family business with his sisters portions of the 49ers. This would give Debartlo full control of the 49ers. However he does not want to disrupt the season and it has been made evident that he will wait until after this season to begin negotiations. However the whole ownership solution must be approved by the league before Eddie can regain control. The league may feel that it doesnít want an owner who formally has such large legal problems. If the league decides not to let the ownership change hands, it may result in the 49ers being put up for sale. This most likely would have negative results. In the mean time though it has been said that; ``The bottom line is Eddie DeBartolo chose to make a deal to avoid having to go to trial, and he was willing and able to say whatever the government wanted him to say . . . to keep the Niners." This may give Debartlo the edge in regaining what is rightfully his, the 49ers.
In other news Jerry Riceís comeback appears to be for real. After coming back last season and falling short, it appears this season he should be ok. Steve Young is off to his best start ever with 666 yards. Garrison Hearst still leads the league in rushing after only 2 games while Barry Sanders and Terrell Davis have 3 games under the belt. Terrell Owens and JJ Stokes are doing a great job so far, as is Marc Edwards whose game last week was hopefully a break out game. He still however need to work on his run blocking. Irv Smith has been doing an adequate job at tight end, and so has Marc Harris. Harris has proved he is reliable and a good player. This week Greg Clark is coming back from his injury he will likely play sparingly. Terry Kirby was resigned by the 49ers this week. He will allow them to open up the offense even more and feature even more formations. Marquez Pope remains injured and wont be active in this weeks game. Darnell Walker will once again take his place. Walker has played quite well so far. Lance Shulters the rookie safety suffered a bruise thigh and will be out for this game. Jamie Brown may get but back into the offensive line rotation. Shane Bonohan and Gabe Wilkins are due back quite soon. Dave Fiore has played extrememly well on the offensive line. Surprising everyone but Bob McKittrick the man who convinced the 49ers to acquire him.