Time for Tim

Fourth-year Niners veteran Tim Rattay talks about taking over as the team's starting quarterback for Saturday's exhibition opener against the Kansas City Chiefs while three-time Pro Bowler Jeff Garcia sits out to rest his ailing back. "When an opportunity comes, you have to take advantage of it," Rattay says. "Yeah, I feel confident. My job is you have to be ready whenever. I expect to go out and play well, keep the offense moving in a smooth rhythm and put points on the board."

Q: We're you beginning to wonder when you'd ever get a starting opportunity again because of Jeff Garcia's durability?

Rattay: Jeff, he's tough, man. That's the one thing I respect most about him is that he's tough. I've seen it first-hand for three years. He's tough, and it's something that's really that's important. You know a kind of guy like that is going to be in there, so he's done a great job staying healthy.

Q:On the other hand, one gets an opportunity, and one has to make the best of it, right?

Rattay: Yeah. I mean, when an opportunity comes, you have to take advantage of it, and the preseason's a good time, because it's allowed the opportunity for me to play - I know I'm going to get to play. So it's fun, I'm excited about getting in there in the preseason and playing.

Q: Even with Jeff out, there's a real sense the team isn't missing a beat with you in there right now. Is that due to your experience in the system, and the the fact you've been around and the team has seen you under game conditions before?

Rattay: I don't know. Everyone is here to do a job. You've got to be able to do the job. If someone is not there, you have to rally around somebody else, and the veterans that are here … there's a veteran O-line and there's veteran receivers … and you just got to go out and play. I think everybody feels that way. It's a job and you've got to come out and do it.

Q: You've made a good impression on your head coach. What do you think about the glowing things he has had to say about you?

Rattay: Well, you know, I've got to keep coming out and improving, you know. I mean, you can't stay the same. You've got to improve. Every practice, every day, you've got to get out and improve. There's always stuff to learn, there's always stuff to get better with, and that's what you've got to try to do. That's what I'm trying to do, is get better every day.

Q: You expecting a lot more out of yourself in this preseason than in past preseasons?

Rattay: I always expect a lot out of myself. I expect to go out and play well. So, we'll see.

Q: If the Garcia back problems lingers and becomes a problem week after week after week, what's that mean to this football team?

Rattay: Well, right now, I'm just trying to worry about Saturday, and I'm not going to try to talk about hypotheticals and all that kind of stuff. Saturday, Jeff's not going to play, so I'll play, and we'll just kind of take it day by day I guess.

Q: Does it make a difference in your mind that you'll be in their starting?

Rattay: You know, it's kind of a situation that I know I was going to play. And if Jeff was healthy, I think that he would have only gone a series or so anyway. So my job is you have to be ready whenever. So you prepare the same, so I don't think it makes a big difference.

Q: This year first game under your new coach, Dennis Erickson. How are you feeling about this offensive system?

Rattay: It's been great. I think the team notices it. I think offensively we notice it, that the wrinkles he's put into our offense has really improved it, I think. We haven't played any games yet, but just being at practice, it just looks like things that are really going to help our offense, and I think everybody's pretty excited about it.

Q: Are you a lot more ready now to be an NFL starter if that situation arises?

Rattay: Yeah, I feel confident. It helps being with this organization for the past three years. I'm very comfortable with the plays and playbook and everything. So that helps. It helps being in one system. You jump around and stuff, it's tough. But I've been here for three years, so I expect to go out and - If I get a chance - do well.

Q: With your strong arm, do you think this is an offense that's well suited to your skills?

Rattay: Um, I really wouldn't say I have a strong arm, but I think I throw things on time, just like anything. Very rarely do you throw a ball 70 yards in a game. Obviously, the stronger your arm, it helps. But I think if you throw things on time, and with accuracy, it's maybe a little more important than having a real strong arm.

Q: You probably figure to play more in this preseason than Jeff. Do you see this preseason as perhaps a critical period in the direction of your career?

Rattay: Well, you know, every time you go out and play, you want to play well. Every practice I want to come out and play well, and every preseason or every opportunity that I get, I want to do well. The main thing is to move the ball downfield, whether we're running or throwing it or whatever. I just want to keep the offense moving in a good rhythm and put points on the board.

Q: Does Garcia's uncertain status affect your mindset as a quarterback at all?

Rattay: My mindset ever since I've been here is prepare myself the best I can from my rookie year to now. I mean, you never know, and my job as a player, as a backup, is to prepare like I'm going to play. That's kinda my mindset since I've been here, so it really hasn't changed.


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