Let Them Play More
August 8 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers starting lineup saw very little action in the pre-season opener; and while Iím all for minimizing the chances of these players getting injured, I really wonder whether they are getting enough work to shake the rust off - particularly on offense. I donít believe that they should be playing a full quarter, but it seemed like right before the team is about to get in sync, Mariucci had pulled his starters.
Jeff Garcia seems to agree:
If I were Garcia though, I wouldnít be getting my hopes up. According to Steve Mariucci, the plan for the next pre-season game, against the Chiefs is to let the starters play between 15-20 snaps (though he has not written that in stone yet). But Mariucci also stated that he wants Tim Ratty to get some repetitions with the starting squad. Iím not accountant, but that could keep Garcia down to about 10 snaps before being pulled from the game.
I see the importance of getting players like Ratty more experience, but I am truly worried that Mariucci is being just a little too conservative. I donít want to see these guys get injured, but there will be problems in the regular season if they are still rustyÖ Mariucci will have to walk a fine line here - and really he canít win; if the players play longer and get injured he will be blamed, and if they play less time but are rusty he will be blamed. Talk about a tough position.
In related news, Mariucci did comment a little on the teamís practice of scripting plays for the game. Ever since Bill Walsh coached the 49ers, they scripted the first fifteen plays of each half, but in pre-season Mariucci goes even further. Plays are scripted for different personnel groups, different clock and field position situations and even for specific players. The 49ers use this method to make sure that they have footage of certain players attempting different tasks. Essentially, it helps the evaluation process as the coaches try and fill out the roster and depth charts.