Q&A with Tim Rattay

In a training camp interview with <EM>SFI</EM>, third-year Niners quarterback Tim Rattay talks about settling into his role as the team's undisputed backup behind starter Jeff Garcia, the pressure to succeed as the team continually looks to upgrade at the position, and how this preseason - when Rattay will take more snaps than any Niners QB - will be a pivotal period in his NFL career. "You have to perform or someone is going to take your job," Rattay says. "That's just how this business is."


Q: How is this training camp different for you coming in as the team's undisputed No. 2 quarterback?

Rattay: I mean, it's just like any training camp really, or any practice, where you've got to get better, you know what I mean? Because there's always competition, and that's just how it is. So I'm just looking at this as any training camp, really, to try to get better and each practice improve.

Q: Doesn't that give you a bit more stability, as far as knowing where you stand?

Rattay: You have to perform or someone is going to take your job. That's just how the business is. And it's evident in every camp. So you've got to come in and you just can't slide or anything. You've got to get better. And I just need to improve on where I was at my first two years.

Q: Do you feel like the hunted now instead of the hunter, with others behind you fighting for your job now instead of the other way around?

Rattay: No, not really. I'm just trying to concentrate on getting better, learning the offense, making every rep count, so if I have to play, I'll be ready to play. It's nothing really different for me. I'm just trying to get better, trying to go out and do the best I can each rep.

Q: Entering your third year in this offense, does the system almost seem second nature to you now?

Rattay: I wouldn't say that, because I haven't really gotten any game reps. I guy like Jeff (Garcia), who's got three years of game reps, it is second nature. For me, I still haven't got the game reps. I'm trying to learn as much as I can book-wise, and watching in practice, and now it's just about getting ready and getting game snaps, and I think the preseason will help that, and getting full-speed reps like that will help. Until you get a lot of full-speed reps, it's hard to say it's second nature or anything like that.

Q: Can you describe your comfort level in the system now?

Rattay: I mean, I feel good. Obviously, being in the huddle, and dropping back ... everything's a lot smoother and I know where people are at. Now I can really concentrate on the defense, certain shades of the defense, and stuff like that. So that's really a lot easier than my first training camp, where I was really just kind of worrying about what our guys were doing. So that helps, to really know what our guys are doing now, and that makes you feel a little more comfortable back there.

Q: How important is this upcoming preseason to the NFL career of Tim Rattay?

Rattay: Every camp and every practice is important. I really shouldn't look ahead to anything. I'm just trying to feel comfortable, get ready, and just trying to take it one practice at a time. But I'm looking forward to it. There's a lot of mistakes I made in the last preseason that I feel that hopefully I've learned from them and corrected them. It's tough when you spend a whole year watching and you don't get that chance to go out and maybe show that you've learned from those mistakes. Because after that (2001) preseason was over, I didn't get any more game time until now. So, hopefully, I've learned from those mistakes and I've gotten better. But I'm looking forward to playing again, definitely.

Q: What are your impressions of what has been going on at the position behind you, with the team drafting a rookie quarterback and also bringing in veteran Cade McNown?

Rattay: It's a business. And that's just how it is. They're going to try to get the best people for every position. There's always a competition for your job. You have to go in every season - unless you're Jeff, or these other guys who are secure - battling for your job. Hopefully, the best person gets the job. You just have to work hard to be that person. That's just how you have to look at it.

Q: What is Tim Rattay looking to get out of this training camp specifically?

Rattay: You know, just to try to reach another level of comfort in the offense. And just to get more ... every year that passes, I feel like I'm more ready to get in and play. Hopefully, that's the case. You just don't know until you get in there, really. But I feel good. And I feel like I know the offense. I know the guys. But you just don't know until you get in there and do it, really. But I'm looking forward to getting in there, and hopefully everything I feel will pay off. We'll see.

Q: What does it mean to you that a team that is so serious about upgrading its quarterback position has shown the confidence in you to declare you as their No. 2 at the position?

Rattay: It feels pretty good. Last year, it was good getting the No. 2 job. Now I just have to battle and try to keep the job and be ready. It's all good, but I've still got a lot of work to do and a lot of things to improve on. I'm just going to keep working. It's a great opportunity, and I want to be ready and take advantage of it.

Niners Digest Top Stories