Garcia speaks up for Cortez

Quarterback Jeff Garcia came out strong in support of kicker Jose Cortez late Monday afternoon. And he didn't stop there. He also said keeping two kickers on the roster this season created a negative situation that has been a distraction for the team. "If I was the general manager of this team," Garcia said, "I wouldn't have two kickers on this team. So I think that's part of the issue that began way before the season started and that's a situation that needs to be dealt with."

Cortez beat out fourth-round draft pick Jeff Chandler for the kicking job during the summer, but the Niners opted not to release the rookie, creating the unusual situation of keeping two kickers on their 53-man roster.

 

"I'm supportive of this team, and I'm supportive of whatever decisions are made, but I think that has been a distraction in many ways and it's something that should be cleared up at some point," Garcia said.

 

"Kickers don't generally have a backup. And I think that just puts Jose in a situation to where, whether you like to believe it or not, he's always going to be peeking over his shoulder. He's always going to be feeling like he can't make a mistake, there's no margin for error. And what that does, instead of sometimes making you a better player, it sometimes makes you a more conservative player. I don't think that helped his overall confidence from the get-go. He's a confident guy and he knows he can do this job. But when they draft somebody at your position, and you beat that player out, yet they hold onto that player, you're going to question certain things that are going on around you."

 

When asked what he thought would happen to the team if Cortez is released, Garcia said, "I think that would put us in a really bad situation. I don't know of anybody who's available who could come in right now, given our situation. Jose's the only guy who can handle the job and can do the job. And that's the only way I'm going to look into this situation. He's our guy. I'm sticking by him. I know that most of this team, if not all of this team, is sticking by him."

 

Garcia believes the Niners shouldn't tamper with a position on the team as vital as kicker this late in the season. And that includes the possibility of replacing Cortez with the other kicker that has been practicing with the Niners all season.

 

"I don't think that changing that part of this team is going to make this team any better," he said. "I know there's a lot or people out there questioning what should take place. I don't really feel right now that if Jeff were given the opportunity that he necessarily betters us at that position. We need to stick with the guy who has been with us from the start. And that's Jose. I really feel that this team is not going to get any better without Jose at this time."

 


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