Charging to a fabulous preseason finish

Insights and intuitions after the 49ers brought their long and winding preseason to an inspiring end with a 27-3 victory Wednesday night over the San Diego Chargers:

 

--- The 49ers who didn't play Wednesday would make up a pretty decent football team.

 

--- But the 49ers who did play assembled by far the team's best performance of the exhibition season.

 

--- So, can it be true? All that Tim Rattay needed was to play with the starters?

 

--- We can live with Rattay as Jeff Garcia's backup this season. We can't exactly say the same about Rattay's backup.

 

--- Jeff Garcia throwing deep darts to Terrell Owens looked like a thing of beauty, even if they did come 80 minutes before the game with T.O. in his tights and Garcia wearing sweats.

 

--- By the way, nice shades, T.O.

 

--- For better or worse, the final verdict is: Let's go with Jimmy Williams as the punt returner this season.

 

--- That was a lot of high-powered energy out there on defense from a bunch of reserves and fringe players.

 

--- Opposing receivers are going to have a tough time getting off the line this season against Mike Rumph. Forget those short curl patterns, too.

 

--- All James Jordan needed to do was hold on to the ball. The other tools are there.

 

--- But the Niners aren't exactly looking for another J.J. at wide receiver.

 

--- Getting kickoffs to the 19-yard line isn't the way to hold onto your job, Jose Cortez.

 

--- While we were counting, rookie Jeff Chandler missed more field goals than he made. In pre-game warm-ups.

 

--- But Chandler made the 47-yard one that mattered in the game, though. That counts for something.

 

--- But let's hope it doesn't mean the Niners plan on counting on him to be their kicker opening the season.

 

--- Say what you will about Derek Smith, but the guy is pretty strong at the point of attack.

 

--- Could Cedrick Wilson soon have us forgetting about Tai Streets?

 

--- Dennis Green was seen mingling on the top level of the press box before the game. Something to keep in mind if this season absolutely blows up in Steve Mariucci's face.

 

--- Cade McNown looked pretty good dunking a football over the goal post before pre-game warm-ups. It was his best move of the preseason.

 

--- Hearst and Barlow. Barlow and Hearst. Yes, that's something to look forward to this season.

 

--- Cornelius Anthony is making it difficult for the 49ers to get rid of him.

 

--- So is Frank Strong.

 

--- And, did we mention Jamal Robertson?

 

--- Too bad there doesn't figure to be many – if any – carries for the Niners' third-string tailback this season. Robertson looks like he'd know what to do with them.

 

--- Making people miss is a special quality to have on a football field.

 

--- Eric Johnson has moves, too. Just another thing to add to the package.

 

--- No wonder the Niners are so high on Eric Heitmann.

 

--- Cleveland Pinkney wants to keep playing football past this week.

 

--- The Niners have some very tough roster decisions to make in the next four days. And that's a good thing.

 

--- And that was a pretty good preseason finale to get everybody psyched for the real thing.

 

--- Parting shot, from Niners general manager Terry Donahue: "We played very well, so it gives us a lot of momentum and enthusiasm going into the opener against New York. I don't think there's anybody in the organization that isn't coming out of the game tonight feeling good about tonight's performance and where we're at."

 

 


Niners Digest Top Stories