Mini Camp Report- 04/30/2000
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The first mini-camp of the 2000 season is coming to a close. Coaches evaluated the talent of more than 100 players, in the hopes of finding the best 83 players for training camp. Steve Young was asked not to participate in the camp - the 49ers wanted to evaluate the younger quarterbacks including Jeff Garcia, Giovanni Carmazzi and Tim Ratty. Although the team denies it, this could be a sign that Steve Young wont be with the 9ers come opening day of the 2000 season. Another notable omission from camp was veteran defensive end Gabe Wilkins, who in 2 years made about 8 million dollars while registering one sac. Wilkins will likely be lead out the door come June first when the 49ers wont suffer as hard a salary cap hit.

Jerry Rice did attend the mini-camp though. Showing flashes of brilliance he taught the 21 defensive backs attending the camp a few lessons about what it's like to cover the best. First round pick Ahmed Plummer was deaked "out of his pants". Plummer will learn from these mistakes, and that is just one reason why Jerry Rice should remain a 49ers this year.

Linebacker Julian Peterson, the 49ers first pick of this years draft did a good job impressing the coaches and scouts at the camp. Peterson was able to make a smooth transition into the 49ers defense. This is a very good sign for the 49ers who saw their defense lose the tenacity it once had, last season.

The 49ers were also very impressed with the works of Jeff Garcia. Garcia is preparing as if he was the starter and in so doing managed to impress coaches more than any other player at the camp. Garcia was on target with almost every throw this mini-camp, and if Young really does not return, Garcia is practically a lock to start. The impression Garcia made may also allow the 49ers to look past free agent quarterback Rick Mirer. Mirer was adored by Bill Walsh coming out college but his career has sputtered ever since.

Another quarterback that made an impression was third round pick Giovanni Carmazzi. Carmazzi had a little trouble adjusting from the run and shoot offence he played in college, to the more complex "West-Coast offense" that is played in San Francisco. Carmazzi missed his fair share of passes to tight ends and running backs, but his tosses to receivers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens showed just why the 49ers drafted Carmazzi.

A few former 49ers showed up at the mini-camp hoping to make their way back on to the squad. With defensive backfield being in such disarray last season, it is no surprise that the two players, tried out for defensive backfield positions. Former defensive back Marqueze Pope is trying out for safety, where the 49ers have a whole to fill ever since Tim McDonald was shown the door earlier this off-season. While the 49ers have some depth at safety with Zack Bronson, and Peirson Prioleau (who may play defensive back this season), as well as this years draft pick John Keith (who may excel into the starting role); Pope hopes to make an impact on a team that saw him injured for nearly two full seasons. Former running back, receiver and kick returner Chuck Levy is also looking for a spot in the defensive backfield. Levy played cornerback in high school. His 6'1 frame and rocket speed may help him onto the roster. This mini-camp will mark the second year in a row that Levy has the chance to switch positions. Last off-season the 9ers tried to convert Levy, but he did not have enough time to practice and hence did not make the squad.

Upon the conclusion of this camp, the 9ers will have to make some crucial decisions. Many veterans will have had to really show that they can still play with the best of them to continue with the 9ers.
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