Don't say the S-word around Garcia

Everybody seems to want to say something is not right with Jeff Garcia. But just don't say he's in a slump. When SFI asked the Niners' two-time Pro Bowl quarterback on Wednesday whether his pedestrian performance through three games represented a slump, Garcia said, "I think that's an overreaction."

The numbers beg to differ.


As the Niners get closer to Sunday's consequential encounter with the St. Louis Rams, there is little question Garcia is off to the worst start of his career at a time he figured to be at the peak of his professional career.


Garcia's play is reflected throughout the offense, which has some very uncharacteristic numbers for a team that prides itself on operating one of the NFL's most potent attacks. The Niners returned to work from their bye week ranked 22nd in the league in total offense.


It would be lower if not for a running game that ranks seventh in the NFL and probably has been most responsible – from the offensive side, at least – for the team's 2-1 start. The Niners rank a dismal 29th in passing yards and 27th in yards per pass attempted.


Garcia – the NFL's third-rated passer last year for the league's fourth-ranked offense – ranks just 24th in the league this week with a 72.8 passer rating. Garcia's 455 yards passing is the lowest of any quarterback listed in the NFC passer rankings.


But a slump? What slump? Garcia insists he isn't mired in one.


"It's something that I know is going to turn around," he said. "It will happen at some point. Hopefully, it will happen this weekend. But I can't afford to sit here and put pressure on myself to go out there and have the 300-yard passing game, have the four-touchdown passing game. It's just something that's going to come."


Niners coach Steve Mariucci also winced when it was suggest his star quarterback back was in a slump.


"Slump is a baseball term, isn't it?" Mariucci said. "I don't know what a slump is."


Mariucci elaborated about Garcia's performance thus far, "His completion percentage is good. His decision-making has been good. We've been close on some big plays but haven't hit them, which dramatically improves your statistics and ratings and that sort of thing. He's only played two-and-a-half games now. Jeff's fine. He'll be just fine. He's right on top of it and sharper than he ever was mentally, he understands our offense, understands the defenses in this league, and I expect him to have a very good season. No question about it."



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