Sean Moran's sack motor

Sean Moran was the man of the hour Monday morning at 49ers training camp, and why not? He also was the man of the hour Saturday night for a team that considers an improved pass rush one of its greatest priorities for the 2002 season.

Moran was the last player off the field after an abbreviated morning practice session as he talked with SF Illustrated about how eager he is to contribute to San Francisco's rising young defense.

He already has. Moran had two sacks in Saturday night's 17-14 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. After two preseason games, those are the only sacks recorded by San Francisco's defensive line.

"I'm just so looking forward to playing for this team," Moran said. "I just tried to play my ass off like I try to do on every down, and I ended up making a few plays. We've got a hell of a talented defensive line here, but I feel like I can help it out."

Moran already is helping it out. And he made more than just "a few plays" against the Chiefs. Moran sacked quarterback Todd Collins for a six-yard loss on third down to thwart a Kansas City drive midway through the second quarter, then dumped Joe Germaine for a five-yard loss on third down to end Kansas City's first drive in overtime. Moran also had three tackles and recovered a fumble that later was overturned by officials' review of the play.

San Francisco's pass rush can use that kind of spark. The Niners' pass rush produced only 32 sacks last season and ranked 27th in the NFL in sacks per play. It was the lowest finish in any league category by the Niners' revamped defense in 2001.

And, according to Niners coach Steve Mariucci, spark could be Moran's middle name.

"The guy's got what we call a motor," Mariucci said. "I mean, he goes every snap, from start to finish. That's how he practices. That's how he plays. That's why a guy like that stays in the league for a long time. Because he's so valuable, he sets the tempo, he's a high-energy guy, he's wound tight. He's a good guy to have, and a heck of an acquisition for us."

Said Moran, "I've always been marked as a guy who goes hard on every snap. I pride myself on that. I'm no world-beater. But you're going to get 110 percent out of me. I'm just out there trying to crack the lineup any way I can."


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