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Article Title: Avoiding A Losing Season
Article Date: December 18 2003
By Bryan Hersh

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Well folks, first off sorry it has been a bit since I’ve written. With exams things were just really crazy around here. I’m also on vacation starting Saturday until the second of January, but I’ll be back with a vengeance shortly there after. Than you for your understanding.

Ladies and gentleman, with another loss the 49ers will secure themselves a losing season. That means this game, and the one following are key to securing just an 8-8 season. A pretty scary reality considering the team made it to the second round of the playoffs. This team was not perfect last year, or the year before, and many fans loved Mariucci, many more others hated him. BUT, the majority of fans would take a 12-4, or 10-6 second round of the playoff team than an 8-8 at best team. The truth of the matter is that the talent on the 49ers roster was not maximized this season. There are a whole lot of “ifs” but the result is still the same… too many losses.

Lots of key moves will have to be made this off-season in order to improve for next season, lots of big name players can be lost, or re-signed. The draft will also be key. And there may even be some coaching moves too. One thing I am quite certain of, is that this team will look quite different at the start of the 2004 season than it did at the start of this season.

This week as the 49ers prepare to face the Philadelphia Eagles a few issues come to mind. For starters… with the 49ers mathematically eliminated from the playoffs it is important to see some of their young player play. We haven’t seen enough of guys like Saleem Rasheed, Brandon Lloyd, Andrew Williams and Anthony Adams. We need to see more of Dwaine Carpenter and Ronnie Heard. We need to know how these players will perform, so the team knows what direction to pursue this off-season. The play of Jeff Garcia will also be important, as he is facing a team with a strong defense and is coming off his two best performances in nearly two years. He needs to show that he can continue to play at this high of a level.

Unlike the Bengals and the Cardinals the Eagles are a really tough opponent. This is not a game the 49ers could have expected to win heading into this season. It should have been expected that this will be a battle. The 49ers have to show that they can still play with the big boys, and win. They need to show that they do not give up. They need to know what their future holds. This weeks game, and next weeks against the Seahawks will be good indicators of that.

This week the 49ers received news that Fred Beasley, Terrell Owens, and Julian Peterson are all headed to the Pro Bowl. It will be Beasley’s first appearance in the Pro Bowl - and really it is coming way too late. Beasley should have made it a long time ago, and I am very proud that he has finally made it. Owens will be making his fourth consecutive appearance and Peterson his second consecutive. Both players are very deserving of these positions. Overlooked were Tony Parrish and Jeremy Newberry. Both players can still make it to the Pro Bowl if players in front of them drop out, but either way, they should have been there.

Also this week, Julian Peterson was awarded the 49ers Len Eshmont Award, and Jeremy Newberry the Block Courage Award. Both players are extremely deserving of these tremendous honours.