August 11 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers coaching staff had to have been happier with their second pre-season game showing. The staff still hasnít made winning a priority, so the result of the game is less important than what the team accomplished. The 49ers will likely begin to actually game plan for next weeks Monday Night Game. In the mean time, the team walked away from a very well played game.
Again, penalties were not an issue. The 49ers coaching staff has this team disciplined very well, and thatís an encouraging sign. They also walked away from the game rather healthy. Kevin Curtis had the worst injury with what appears to be a MCL sprain. Heíll undergo a MRI shortly to determine the extent of the damage. Other than that Sean Moran injured his thumb, and Jose Cotez hurt a finger.
I think that Mariucci did a much better job of giving the fist string players some time to play in this game. He didnít overdo it, but was cutting it close to risking too much injury. Still Mariucci seemed to be holding back a little to try and keep his starters healthy. One canít really blame him for that.
Announcers for KGO radio stated that they had spoken to Mariucci about Owens, and Mariucci stated that he wants to try and get Owens the ball at least once on every gameís opening series. It seems logical that Mariucci would want this, and it should make Owens happy that his coach wants to get him the ball. Isnít life great when there is no controversy?
Defensively, I liked seeing the team playing in a cover two defense. Jim Mora clearly has the defense prepared, though the first drive was less than impressive. The cover two is a very complicated defense, and the 49ers seemed to be running it quite smoothly. The Chiefs run a similar offensive system to the Rams, and so I wouldnít be surprised to see lots of cover two against the Rams also. Mora brought the blitz a little more often, and had a little more pressure coming from the front four, but a real pass rush is still needed.
One thing the 49ers should make note of is how the Chiefs used passes to the tight end and running backs to move the ball against the cover-two defense on the first series. It may come in handy sometime during the season.
All around this was a well coached game. The team still isnít revealing its hand as to what it has in store with more complicated offensive and defensive packages, but I think thatís a good thing. It should be interesting to see how the coaching staff approaches the next game, as practice for the past two has focused more on getting the team orientated to the playbook than in preparation for their opponents.