Garcia Finally Leading--11/15/01
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It’s been a rather unorthodox system in Frisco for the past few years. Really it’s been unorthodox since Steve Young was thrown to the ground in Tampa Bay - never to play again. It was at that time the 49es needed a backup quarterback, and it was at that time that they turned to Jeff Garcia. Garcia’s immediate play was from glamorous to say the least, heck he was benched in favor of Steve Stenstrom - doesn’t that say it all?

It’s a good thing that Garcia got his second chance though, because when he did, he grabbed on and refuses to let go. Anyone complaining now? But in all this time, Garcia who was playing well on the field, really wasn’t leading the team and aiding in the planning process. He was in a way - still the backup quarterback.

Recently, Garcia earned the right to call the 49ers his team. Maybe it was the four touchdowns last week, or the playing on a sprained MCL. Or maybe it was just the 4000 plus yards he threw for last season, or the 6-2 record the 49ers can now boast, but at this point, Garcia has really earned the right to call it his team.

Of course with Garcia finally being regarded as the main man, Steve Mariucci responded. Since Mooch arrived on the job, he has sought the advice of selected veterans. The original groups included the likes of Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Bryant Young, Derek Deese, Tim McDonald Jr, Merton Hanks, Ken Norton Jr, Winfred Tubbs, Ray Brown, Chris Dalman - well you get the picture. Needless to say, the group has dwindled over the years.

At the beginning of the season, Mariucci’s veteran group - team leaders if you will. The ones responsible in giving input into weekly game plans, the efficiency of certain plays, etc. consisted of just four players - down from the original ‘dirty dozen’: Stubblefield, Young, Brown and Deese. Recently, however Garcia was honored with the opportunity to join the team. Garcia underwent a ‘secret procedure’ - probably somewhat similar to fraternity initiation (actually who knows but wouldn’t that be funny) and was adopted into the group. Garcia had this to say: “"He asked if I wanted to be a part of that group, and when he asked me I definitely said, 'Yes,' I want to be looked at as one of the leaders of this team. I want that responsibility. I think it's an honor to be a part of that group. It goes to show that a lot of hard work and dedication can pay off."”

The number is now five, but what’s really important here is the transformation of Garcia. This is the guy we should want leading this team. He believes in hard work, dedication, etc. and he wants to lead the team. Now that’s a big jump for a player to want to shoulder that responsibility. It’s once that traditionally good quarterbacks make, thus we should be very encouraged by this progression. Now that Garcia can really mold this team to being his own, we should start seeing a more cohesive unit. I for one, am looking forward to it - and heck who knows, maybe Garrison Hearst will be next.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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