Hey Garcia: You Want To Be Great? --11/02/01
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If you’re a 49ers fan, you have to be really ticked off about the past week’s locker room shenanigans. Owens says this, Mariucci says this, and all of sudden, the Detroit Lions, the team the 49ers play in just two days are not the focal point. Can anyone say distracted? Mariucci is generally good at handling distractions, heck remember the ownership problems? There’s no question even his staff and players can respect his ability to keep the team focused. Derek Smith was eager to speak up on behalf of his coach: "He does a really good job of addressing problems without offending or putting anyone down, but he takes care of the situation at the same time." Jim Mora feels much the same way: “The thing we've got going for us is we've got a head coach that knows how to handle that stuff, he does a great job of handling any type of distraction that there is in the locker room. ... He's great at it, so we're lucky."

Some players even think he has handled Owens well this past week, Scott Gragg for one, had this to say: "He's not pretending it didn't happen, he addressed it and now we're moving on.” Despite these words of encouragement, no 49ers fan can truly be happy about how this situation was handled, and how the Lions clearly aren’t the focus of the team this week. This spells trouble. So what should the 49ers do about it. Or rather what should Jeff Garcia do about it?

Garcia has to step up as a locker room leader. On the field, there’s no question the players believe in him. They know he can get the job done. Garcia after all is a winner. In the locker room though it seems to be a different story. It always has been a quarterbacks job to lead his team. A great quarterback commands as much respect from the players as any coach, and keeps the team in line. He can tell a player to shut his mouth, and offense won’t be taken. Garcia needs to learn how to do this in order to be great. He needs to learn how to lead this team and keep them functioning as a group.

The 49ers have always had this leadership. Joe Montana, and Steve Young were the epitome of leaders. They kept the team in line, and as such the 49ers dubbed the motto “Winning With Class”. Somebody needs to teach that to same motto to this young 49ers squad. Terrell Owens should know it by now, but clearly he doesn’t, and the locker room leaders such as Garrison Hearst, Lance Schulters, Dana Stubblefield, and Ray Brown all are probably trying to say it, but the message is different when it come from the quarterback.

Jeff Garcia, this is your challenge now that you have proven yourself on the field. Keep playing at a high caliber, but get this team inline. Make it your own. And teach this team how to win, keep winning, and how to look good while you do it… even after the occasional loss. Complete this task Jeff, and suddenly you will have won a spot in every 49ers fan’s hearts, even in those that seem reserved solely for Joe and Steve.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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