"I don't run just to run," says Young. "It just flows sometimes. In those three games I started last season, I didn't run from the pocket a single time. So I don't think it's as much of a factor as people might say or think or believe it is."
While the Niners are suffering the problems of an embarrassment of riches at quarterback, the Raiders are trying to find one dependable arm to get the ball to a bevy of receivers. "They traded for Willie Gault. So what?" says Lott, referring to L.A.'s recent acquisition of Gault from Chicago. "They had receivers, and Gault isn't All-Pro or anything. I've yet to see him run a pattern over the middle. I think the Raiders are desperate."
Desperate or not, the Raiders' new coach, Mike Shanahan, can now boast one of the finest groups of receivers this side of AT&T, including Gault, James Lofton, Todd Christensen and rookie Tim Brown. But pass catchers must have something to receive. Against San Francisco, Gault hauled in a 43-yard reception from Raider starter Steve Beuerlein on his inevitable go route, but all the Raiders got out of that drive was a 21-yard field goal from Chris Bahr. The only other L.A. score was on a keeper by backup quarterback Vince Evans with 3:39 remaining, but the 49ers were emptying the bench by then.
"When you have two quarterbacks like the Niners do," said Raider linebacker Rod Martin, "you've got problems you can live with. Joe Montana is still Joe Montana, unfortunately for us. I just wish we could have a quarterback controversy like that."
Walsh, who is well aware of the ravages of the 16-game schedule, appreciates the luxury of his dilemma. "Steve will play a lot this year," he said, "more than any backup quarterback has ever played for us. It might be difficult for other teams to prepare for us now."
Montana took it all in with a grain of salt. " John Madden told me that I'm in a tough position," he said. "He said a team's most popular player is the backup quarterback. I'd just like to play-start—for another five years or so."
Does Montana have any advice for Young in the meantime? "Yeah," said Joe. "Break a leg." He smiled when he said it. At least it looked like a smile.