Positional Analysis Quarterback- 12/30/2000
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This article is one of a series of Positional Analysis articles. I intend to examine each position on both sides of the ball as to offer some perspective on what the 49ers will try and accomplish this off-season. The series will begin with the offence at the quarterback position.

The 49ers were really worried about their quarterback situation after last season. Steve Young was retiring, Steve Stenstrom accomplished nothing, and Jeff Garcia was inconsistent. Thus the team went into the off-season last year with quarterback as a top priority. They drafted two quarterbacks in Giovannai Carmazzi and Tim Ratty and brought in nomadic veteran Rick Mirer. Stenstrom was shown the door, Young hit the high road, and Garcia began battling for a roster spot. This off-season will be drastically different when examining the quarterback position.

Last season Bill Walsh saw Jeff Garcia as the ideal back up to Steve Young. What Walsh didn't realize then is that Garcia could indeed be the 49ers next solution at quarterback. Nobody is ready to compare Garica to his two predecessors yet, but with a Pro Bowl honour and setting a new team record for yards, Garcia is starting to warm up in the eyes of San Francisco fans. The 49ers are very confident in Garcia, to the point where they have declared the quarterback position a very low priority in the off-season. Rather the team will focus on furthering his development, and getting him even more protection to keep Garcia's small frame safe.

Behind Garcia is Rick Mirer. Mirer came to the 49ers late last off-season and was always one of Bill Walsh's favourites. Mirer has improved his game dramatically since coming to the 49ers, really benefiting from the coaching staff. The 49ers would like to keep Mirer around for another season, and Mirer would likely be happy to stay. The only issue here is the development of the two other understudies both drafted last season, and the salary cap. Another year with the 49ers would likely land Mirer a job somewhere else in the NFL.

Tim Ratty jumped ahead of Giovanni Carmazzi on the depth charts earlier last summer. Ratty benefited from playing in front of bigger crowds and in a West Coast Offence. The 49ers think Ratty has a fair bit of potential. Ratty will likely battle things out with fellow draftee Giovanni Carmazzi, the 49ers other quarterback draftee.

Giovanni Carmazzi joined the 49ers with high hopes. Carmazzi is an athletic quarterback who the 49ers feel could thrive with the team. Unfortunately Carmazzi's development has been slow and as a result the 49ers may be forced to let him go. Carmazzi was drafted in the third round, and the 49ers think he has a huge up side. It would be terrible to have to let him go, but it may be the only alternative.

While the 49ers seem set at quarterback, given the opportunity though the team may bring in someone to challenge the youngsters in the off-season. Jeff Garcia's seems to be a lock at quarterback, and the 49ers hope he will continue to thrive in their system. Garcia is a restricted free agent who is believed to be ready to re-sign with the 49ers.

Editors Note: 49ers Paradise would like to wish everyone a happy new year. A reminder that 49ers Paradise will be updated all off-season multiple times a day, and will offer real time draft coverage! Stay with 49ers Paradise for the best 49ers coverage.

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