Stubby Returns 04/27/01
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The 49ers took a huge leap into becoming a competitive team next season when they re-signed defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield after a three-year stint with Redskins on Thursday. Stubblefield left the 49ers after a tremendous season, during which he was the defensive player of the year, and recorded sixteen sacks. The team is hoping that returning Stubblefield to Bryant Young's side will return the Stubby of old to San Francisco.

During his tenure with the Washington Stubblefield's performance declined. In three seasons, Stubblefield recorded only seven and a half sacks. The 49ers are hoping he can rejuvenate his career in his return to San Francisco. Stubblefield is already penciled in to start at defensive tackle next to his good friend, and former teammate Bryant Young. In the past, the two have teamed to be one of the strongest inside duos in the NFL. If Stubblefield can return to form, and the 49ers, and Bryant Young believe he can, there is no reason why the two couldn't reclaim this title.

The 49ers believe Stubblefield is the final piece to the defensive puzzle. Currently the teams front four has John Engelberger playing at defensive end, with Stubblefield in the middle. Bryant Young will play next to Stubblefield, and Andre Carter will play next to young. On paper this starting defensive line seems to have it all from run stopping abilities, to hurrying the quarterback this line should be a significant upgrade from last season.

Providing the defensive line does improve its play from last season, it is fair to assume that the rest of the defense will benefit. Quarterbacks will have a harder time passing benefiting the defensive backs and linebackers, and the team shouldn't have to rely on the linebackers or defensive backs to bring regular pressure on the quarterback.

The 49ers have high hopes for Stubblefield. His return is believed to be an essential part of the 49ers success. Giving Bryant Young some help on the defensive line, should bring a smile to his face also. Stubblefield will have to prove he can return to forum, providing he does, the 49ers defense may once again impose fear in offensive coordinators league wide.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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