Hindsight is always twenty-twenty isn’t? --10/13/01
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Hindsight is always twenty-twenty isn’t? When assembling this season’s roster the 49ers had quite a few unknowns. Running back for example was an area where the 49ers thought they had a fair bit of talent but really didn’t know who they should keep out Hearst, Jackson, Beasley, Barlow, Smith and Jonas Lewis. The team thought it would be ok to reserve a roster spot for a return man, in this case Vinny Sutherland, a receiver who is now listed as a running back because of a lack of active numbers on the 49ers roster for receivers. Of course there were a few known factors too. The team knew that Owens, Stokes, Streets and Wilson would be a great receiving crew, just as it was happy with its safeties and offensive line.

Now just four games into the season many people are looking at the roster and thinking, “six running backs; what the heck for?”. With starting center Jeremy Newberry hurt and backup Kevin Lynch in even worse shape, wouldn’t a few of the running back roster spots been better spent on an extra offensive lineman backup or two? Of course no one would suggest that Vinny Sutherland having a dedicated roster spot was a bad move, but then again that’s only because he’s been productive.

The answer of course is “yes”, at least one of roster spots taken up by a running back would have been better used for an extra offensive lineman. Heck, an extra linebacker may not have hurt either. But could we have seen the future? Of course not. And just as we are hurting along the offensive line now, we could very easily of needed the extra running backs.

Grin and bear it; is really the only advice anyone can offer. At this point it’s unlikely the 49ers would find a good enough backup offensive lineman to warrant the release of Smith or Lewis, so we just need to wait and hope that our team can get healthy again. The bye week on October 21st is not that far off, and that will go along way to getting this team healthy again.

The 49ers are fortunate to have a very versatile offensive lineman. Providing Jeremy Newberry can’t play for the second week in a row, Dave Fiore will move to center and backup John Milem will take Fiore’s spot. The 49ers have always trained their offensive lineman to be versatile in this manner and as such they shouldn’t be in that bad of shape against Atlanta. Of course if the team shuffles the line, don’t be surprised to see an extra running back or the tight end hanging around to help protect Garcia. The last thing the team needs is Garcia to get hit hard on the same turf that almost ended Garrison Hearst’s career.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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