The Shotgun- 11/01/99
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With all the trouble that the 9ers have been faced with, one of the main concerns has been the lack of protection for the quarterback. Whether it be Steve Young, Jeff Garcia or even Steve Stenstrom in the lineup, the quarterback has been nocked around way too much. Part of the reason for this is now more than ever defenses are takeing "cheap shots" at quarterbacks. However our offensive line, though talented has been pittiful, partially due to being plagued with injuries (not an excuse, just a fact). Unfortunately for the 9ers, and quarterbacks league wide, there really is nothing anyone can do to prevent "cheap shots", however there is something that the 9ers can do to help their quarterbacks get the time to escape, and even get their reeds right.

The shotgun formation, something foreign to the 9ers ever since Joe Montana was the starter. The idea of snapping the ball to the quarterback standing several yards behind the center, almost an unheard of idea in the West Coast offense. However as the defenses become more blitz oreinted, to combat the quick pass, the offense has to adapt somewhere. The 49ers are fortunate to have Jeff Garcia, who in the CFL was primarily opperating under the shotgun formation, on the team. Garcia knows the shotgun, and how to benefit from it. Then why not give it a chance? It will make delay hand offs more effective too. It's time to take that next step.

It is clear that the 9ers are considering this formation. They were practising out of it early in the bye week. Mariucci claimed it was just an idea, but not to use it would be hindering a hurt team. Somehow someway, the 9ers will have to make a difference. The shotgun formation will allow Garcia to see the field and have time to throw.

It really is that simple, and that is why it should be seen this week against the Steelers. The 9ers would also have the advantage of running a formation that teams haven't seen from them in decades. This could be Mooch's stamp on the 9ers offense. Let's see if he can impliment it.
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