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49ers Pulling Out Stops

SPORTS WEEKEND | AROUND THE NFC / WEST

September 01, 2000|HOUSTON MITCHELL

San Francisco mortgaged its future to win in the '90s and the future is now for the 49ers Call them Hofstra West (Dave Fiore, Gio Carmazzi and Lance Schulters) . . . and they don't even have the best Hofstra player, Wayne Chrebet.

There might be reason for optimism in the San Francisco secondary. And that, in itself, is a major improvement on last season, when the 49ers went through seven starting cornerbacks and ranked last in the NFL in pass defense.

Although they've been ravaged by injuries to the defensive line during training camp, the 49ers have gotten a long look at their secondary. And linebacker Ken Norton Jr. sees plenty of evidence why the 49ers should be improved on defense.

"You see us covering better on the edges," Norton said. "One of our breakdowns was our defensive backs on the edges. Those guys, Monty Montgomery and Ahmed Plummer, you can see they're really battling out there. Those teams are throwing the ball deep and they're not catching them as often as they were before."

The biggest question about the St. Louis Rams seems to be Mike Martz, the new coach, who says he doesn't want his learning process to hamper his team. The only blip so far seems to be all-pro defensive end Kevin Carter's concern about a new contract, which was put on the back burner while Kurt Warner and Isaac Bruce got big bucks.

The Saints' housecleaning under Jim Haslett raised some hopes in New Orleans. But it's not an immediate success story--the Saints claimed four players off waivers the day after cutdown, always a sure sign a team is not going to contend.

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