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Depth Hurting
October 23 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers are so banged up that even their depth charts are depleted. At certain positions, such as linebacker, safety, offensive line, receiver and running back if a player goes down, the 49ers will not be using their second stringer, in all likelihood theyíll be onto their third or fourth depth positional player.

At running back, Garrison Hearst is probable, but if he canít go, that means Kevan Barlow would be the only healthy tailback on the squad. The immediate backup Paul Smith and Terry Jackson (who play both the full and tailback positions) are both injured. An injury to Fred Beasley would be similarly devastating.

At receiver, with JJ Stokes questionable, should Tai Streets or Terrell Owens get injured to the point where they canít play (Owens is after all, already probable) the 49ers would be forced to use Cederick Wilson as a starter. Wilson is actually fourth on the depth chart.

The offensive line situation is as bad as the other two offensive position concerns. Eric Heitmann, the teams primary backup has already be infused in the lineup, but Matt Willig who was the teamís top backup last season is still available. After that, things do get dire.

At safety, the 49ers are playing with Ronnie Heard in place of the injured Zack Bronson. After Heard, is Brandon Moore who is also a backup linebacker. The teams other option would be to shift Rashad Holman from the cornerback position. The 49ers do not have another safety on their active roster.

Linebacker is a scary situation too. With Jamie Winborn still out, Saleem Rasheed doubtful and Frank Strong questionable, if one of the starters should happen to fall, the team would be left with Quincy Stewart and Brandon Moore, the seventh and eighth players on the depth chart at that position.

The 49ers roster is so banged up, that just four units are not injured on their starting front, quarterback, tight end, defensive line and cornerbacks. The defensive line does have an injury to John Engelberger but he is a depth player.

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