Sunday, September 17, 2000

NFL Insider

49ers must choose between Garcia, Mirer

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        How the mighty have fallen. The quarterback controversy in San Francisco, where Joe Montana and Steve Young were the last two regulars, is between Jeff Garcia and Rick Mirer.

        Garcia remains the starter. He was pulled last week when the 49ers were behind 28-0 against Carolina on the way to their second consecutive loss. Mirer came in and completed 10 of 20 passes for 126 yards and one touchdown.

        Coach Steve Mariucci didn't make up his mind on his starter until Tuesday.

        Further evidence of decay. The 49ers are 17-point underdogs against the Rams today. That's quite a spread, considering that between 1990 and 1998, the 49ers beat the Rams 17 times in a row.

        HEAVY WEIGHTS: Arizona has the largest offensive line in the NFL, weighing an average of 328.8 pounds for its five opening day starters.

        Denver has the lightest line and the only one that comes in at less than 300 pounds. The average weight of Broncos starters is 287.

        BIG BACKS: Time to consider the biggest running backs in recent NFL history.

        Each of these super-sized backs gained 1,000 yards at least once: Pete Johnson (Bengals), Craig "Ironhead' Haywood (Falcons), Christian Okoye and Barry Word (Chiefs), Cookie Gilchrist (Bills), Jerome Bettis (Rams and Steelers) and Natrone Means and Marion Butts (Chargers).

        Bettis has been by far the most productive, rushing for 1,000-plus yards six times in his first seven seasons.

        The other seven ran for 1,000 yards a total of only eight times in 50 NFL seasons.

        The latest big-back flop appears to be the Bears' Curtis Enis, who's being outrushed easily by his Chicago teammate Cade McNown, a quarterback.

        MAN OF TROY: The Cowboys' Troy Aikman is the only starting quarterback to win at least 10 games in five consecutive years, a streak that appears to be ending in 2000.

        He suffered a concussion in the first game of the season, and the Cowboys are off to an 0-2 start.

        ADDRESS BOOK: Oakland receiver Andre Rison and Pittsburgh guard Tom Myslinski each is playing with his seventh team, more than any other NFL player. HOT STARTS: Since Dennis Green became coach in 1993, the Vikings are 35-15 in the first six games of the season, 24-10 in September and 13-3 in the Metrodome in September.

        FOOTBALL FACTORIES: On opening day rosters, the following colleges had the most players in the NFL: Florida State, 38; Notre Dame, 37; Ohio State, 35; Florida, 34; and Miami (Fla.), 34.

        THE BUCS STOP HERE? Tampa Bay's coronation as an elite NFL team might be legitimate, but let's hold off for a few weeks and see how it does against some real competition.

        Yeah, the Bucs are 2-0, but the two teams it defeated, New England and Chicago, are 0-4. Tampa Bay's next four opponents — Detroit, New York Jets, Washington and Minnesota — are 7-1.

        LIVE FOREVER: Former coach Joe Gibbs, receiver Art Monk and defensive end Dexter Manley will be inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame on Monday night at Fed-Ex Field.

        OLD MEN: At 27.7 years, the Redskins were the NFL's oldest team on opening day.

        And they're getting older.

        Injured receiver Michael Westbrook (age 28) has been replaced for Andre Reed (age 36).

        STRONG LEG, WORDS: Kicker Joe Nedney has won the kicking job in Denver, filling in for injured Jason Elam.

        On the day he signed with the Broncos, Nedney recalled when Raiders coach Jon Gruden cut him last month.

        Nedney told Gruden there would be a day when he would get revenge.

        That day has come more quickly than Nedney could have imagined. The Broncos play the Raiders today, and Denver has won five straight in the rivalry and 9 of the last 10.


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