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Coaching Pre-Season Game Reactions
August 6 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Two different teams, coming from two different places, trying to accomplish two separate goals. The 49ers goal, of course was to come out of the game healthy, and with a good impression of where their depth players stand. The Redskins wanted to win, and wanted to know that Steve Spurrierís offense could be effective in the NFL. Naturally, the result of the game was a complete blowout of the 49ers. Still Steve Mariucci is happy with his teamís performance.

For the most part, the 49ers did not suffer any serious injuries, and that was the coaching staffís ultimate goal. But the trip half way around the world did provide the 49ers coaching staff with some information it needed.

The 49ers took a very plain game plan to Osaka. Theyíll claim otherwise, but one look at footage from the game, and it was clear, Mariucci did not want to reveal his hand yet, and he may not want to at all in pre-season. Rather it seemed like Mariucci was trying a variety of formations and schemes to see how Steve Spurrier will react to them, how the Redskinsí quarterbacks will audible and such. The 49ers play the Redskins early in the regular season, and knowing how the Redskins will react to certain formations etc. will be of great help to the team as it game plans for the regular season match up, especially considering the lack of footage for the team to study. This seemed to be a smart tactic by Mariucci, who made sure not to reveal what his team will do to try and dismantle Spurrierís attack offense.

I am a little bit skeptical at how little time the starting offense had to work together though. Jeff Garcia barely had time to collect himself before hitting the showers. It seemed like just as the offense began to run efficiently, Mariucci pulled in the subs. While Iím all for keeping the players healthy and fresh, I do worry that the starting squad may be too rusty for the regular season if they donít get some real work in, in at least two of the teamís pre-season games. Mariucci will have a tough task walking this fine line.

Whether it was the vanilla offense, or just a tendency carrier over from last year, it does seem that start of nearly every offensive series is a running play. In some respects, this makes sense, because it gives the quarterback a little bit of time to adjust to the speed of the game and whatís happening in front of him. If successful, it also means a shorter pass would be necessary to pick up the first down. Still, itís become awfully predictable. If not for the talented backfield that the 49ers boast, I wonder if this tendency would be effective at all. I certainly hope Mariucci does not fall into this habit in the same way he did last season.

Overall I thought the coaching staff did a good job with the team. They spent very little time preparing for Washington. That showed. But it was also clear that the coaching staff has the team well disciplined, and that everyone is on the same page. The improvement across the depth chart is also a good indicator that when the games start to count, the coaching staff will have this team ready.

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