September 07 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers have only played one game of the NFL season, and already fans are beginning to wonder if the team has a controversy at kicker. Jose Cortez who is now in his second season as the 49ers place kicker was anything but special in the season opener. Cortez was three out of five on field goals, missing one short and wide, and another being blocked.
The 49ers went out this off-season and drafted Jeff Chandler. A fourth round pick that many still believe was a waste. Both kickers performed well in pre-season, with Cortez having the edge, and hence winning the starting job. Still the 49ers kept Chandler on the roster at the expense of other positions.
As an insurance policy, a second kicker is good to have around. As a guy on the bench taking a roster spot away from a veteran player like Chad Cota, itís not the greatest thing. But if Cortez canít get his act together soon, the 49ers may look very smart for keeping Chandler on the roster.
Cortez came through in the clutch, winning the game for the team with no seconds left on the clock, but one has to wonder who would be starting next week if the 49ers never had that opportunity or had Cortez missed. Head Coach Steve Mariucci stated before the season, that they would pick one guy and go with him, so that he wouldnít be constantly looking over his shoulder - perhaps he should have applied more pressure on his kickers. After all, Cortez seemed to kick best when his job was on the line.