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ENEMY LINES
Michael Silver
September 03, 2001
an opposing team's scout sizes up the 49ers
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September 03, 2001

Enemy Lines

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an opposing team's scout sizes up the 49ers

These guys may be better than people think. They keep adding good, young players on defense, and their offense can score. They're probably an 8-8 team, but if they get a couple of breaks, they might make the playoffs....

Andre Carter was a huge addition. He should surprise people with his strength against the run, and he'll get to the quarterback....

Jeff Garcia threw for 4,200 yards last year, which is remarkable. He's got a quick release, is accurate and can hit seams within a 30-yard box. His mobility helps, because the offensive line is patchwork....

The running game is a problem, unless Garrison Hearst can shock everybody and make it back from his 1999 ankle injury. Kevan Barlow is a big back with surprising versatility, but he's inconsistent. Paul Smith stinks—I can find five or 10 guys on the waiver wire just like him....

Other than Terrell Owens, I don't like their receivers. J.J. Stokes can't run or get away from press coverage at the line of scrimmage, and Tai Streets drops a lot of balls and isn't very tough....

Bryant Young is not as good as he was before his leg injury, but with help around him, like Carter, he can still be a top player. Dana Stubblefield won't do a thing, though. He just shut it down in Washington....

They added Derek Smith at linebacker, and I like him. He's not real big, but he's quick, instinctive and has a knack for finding the ball....

The safeties are solid, especially Lance Schulters. He's a good open-field tackier and an explosive hitter who flies to the ball.

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