Dorsey's daily dose

Another practice, another day of progress Tuesday for Ken Dorsey, who is looking more and more like a man the 49ers can be comfortable with at quarterback.

The guy is taking the opportunity presented by Tim Rattay's injury and running with it, passing with it, and talking with it to the point that it wouldn't surprise anybody if Dorsey were to handle the role as the team's starting quarterback with aplomb once the 2004 season begins.

Of course, nobody around the Niners is expecting that to be the case. Rattay's recovery from groin surgery is going well, perhaps even better than expected, and coach Dennis Erickson said Tuesday he is not overly concerned about any practice time Rattay is missing during his rehabilitation.

But Erickson also can't help but notice the progress Dorsey is making practically every practice since he took over as the top guy with the first team in spring drills after Rattay was injured May 7.

"What he's done is he's come out in all these minicamps and he's gotten better and better every time he's practiced," Erickson said. "There isn't a level where he goes up and down. He just stays pretty steady and gets better like you'd hope a guy like that would."

And Dorsey, who looked smooth and controlled in the team's passing camp last week, is an even more commanding presence this week at the four-day minicamp that is the team's final big bash of the spring.

He is growing steadily in the role of starting quarterback and team leader.

"I feel comfortable with where I'm at," Dorsey said. "Right now, I know that I still have a ways to go to get where I want to be. But I'm learning each and every throw, each and every step I take on the field, eliminating the mistakes and just doing the right thing with the football."

One thing that has been noticeable recently in practice is the advantage Dorsey's height gives him over other quarterbacks that play – and have played in the past – the position for the team.

Dorsey, who stands a shade over 6-foot-4, can see over the line, and his excellent vision allows him to pick up secondary receivers quickly when plays begin to break down, particularly backs jetting late out of the backfield.

When Rattay comes back, and the 49ers get into pads and preseason games, it will be interesting to see how far along Dorsey really has come. But the way he has been developing this spring – and not just as a player, but a team leader, too – has been impressive.

He looked better Tuesday than he did Monday, and looked better Monday than he did last week. He definitely is taking full advantage of the accelerated work.

"He's a guy that's made the most out of every opportunity that he's had in his playing career," Erickson said. "To me, he exudes leadership by coming out here with confidence, executing and doing the things that he does. To me, that's real leadership, and he's done that ever since he's been here."

Dorsey isn't about to slow down.

"I'm just making sure to stay on top of my workouts and everything like that," he said. "I'm going to keep maintaining that and just never be satisfied with where I'm at. That's the important thing."


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