Garcia will start, but Rattay may play most of way

Jeff Garcia will start at quarterback for the 49ers on Monday against the St. Louis Rams, but Tim Rattay will finish. Coach Steve Mariucci isn't letting on how much either of his top two QBs will play, but suffice it to say that - with the Niners opening the playoffs six days later - you can expect to see more of backup Rattay.

Garcia will start to keep intact his streak of consecutive starts, which will reach 54 when he takes his first snap against the Rams. Mariucci was coy this week in declaring how much Garcia will play after that, saying, "We're going to determine how long he's going to play as we go along." When asked about Rattay, Mariucci said, "There's a really good chance he's going to play."

Mariucci stopped short of adding, "most of the way," to the end of that statement. But it appears unlikely that Garcia will see extensive action, as he did during last week's victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

Garcia, of course, is preparing as if he'll be taking every snap.

"I really believe that I have to," he said. "I think that if I don't have that approach, then I'm not as prepared as I need to be. And whether that's the physical side or the mental side, I'm going to approach it as if I'm playing the whole game. What happens after that, that's going to be left up to the coaches. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to be in there to help my team win a football game. However long that takes for me to be in there, I'm going to be ready for that."

Rattay also will be ready. It's expected that he'll see more action in a regular-season game than he has at any time during his three-year career with the Niners.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm excited to get out there and get a chance to play."

Rattay has seen extensive action with the offense during practice and game preparation this week, indicating he will be taking a fair share of the snaps against the Rams.

"It was my first time back getting reps with the (first team), instead of scout team reps," Rattay said. "It's good to get out there and throw to your guys instead of the defense. I don't think this game (is meaningless) - especially not for me. I'm not exactly sure how much playing time I'll get, but we need to go out and execute and just do what the offense has been doing all year, try to finish up with a win and move on to the playoffs."

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