Should 49ers be sweating<BR> yet about Rattay?

The Tim Rattay summer evaluation has reached its midpoint, and you'd think the 49ers might be starting to sweat a bit about the man who will be their backup quarterback this season.

The third-year player continues to show little consistency moving the offense, but after watching films of Monday's 12-7 exhibition victory over Denver, Niners coach Steve Mariucci said early Tuesday evening that the team remains pleased with Rattay's preseason development.

"The plays that we called when he was in the game, for the most part, he executed pretty darn well," Mariucci said. "He checked it down. He did the smart thing with the ball most of the time. I was encouraged with his decision making."

Rattay completed 9-of-10 passes for 91 yards and had a quarterback rating for the game of 104.6. But those impressive numbers actually were much less than the sum of their parts. Rattay guided the Niners on an 11-play, 72-yard drive to a field goal on their second possession of the third quarter. But a more telling statistic was that Rattay failed to lead the Niners to a first down on the other six possessions he played after taking over for starter Jeff Garcia.

The Niners, in fact, finished with six net yards to show for 18 plays in those six possessions. Needing to move the chains, Rattay often dumped the ball off to secondary receivers who were stopped well short of making first downs.

Rattay is expected to receive extensive action in San Francisco's final two preseason games - Saturday at Oakland and next Wednesday at home against San Diego. Mariucci said the team would like to give Rattay more time with the starting unit - he played only against and with backups on Monday - and also see how he performs in certain situations.

"I'd like to see him participate in some situations he hasn't had yet - goal-line, two-minute, more of those types of situations," Mariucci said. "Hopefully, those things will come up in the next two weeks."

And, hopefully, Rattay will show a better feel for the system and more productivity in it. He also was sacked three times, and his hesitancy in the pocket is becoming a trend this preseason and looks like it could be a recurring problem. Rattay still looks very much like a work in progress with the preseason winding down, and that's certainly not what the Niners were planning on taking into the season at a vital position that is just one hit away from being their starting quarterback.

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