San Francisco 49ers: Bringing The Holt-Bruce Tandem Back Together?

Andy Bensch@@AndyBenschSenior Writer IMarch 14, 2009

If there is any team that should remember how successful the receiving duo of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce was for the Rams back in the late 90's, early 00's, it should be the San Francisco 49ers.

Often tormented by the receiving pair catching passes from long-time rival quarterback Kurt Warner, the 49ers are well aware of the damage this 1-2 punch can do to opposing defenses.

San Francisco shouldn't even need to look outside their own team to realize a 1-2 punch at wide receiver is a key to a winning football team.

Everyone who is remotely an NFL fan considers former 49er great Jerry Rice as the greatest receiver of all time, but lest we forget John Taylor was no slouch either—playing opposite the legendary receiver for three Super Bowls, while appearing in two Pro Bowls of his own.

The news of Torry Holt being released by the Rams, and ESPN's John Clayton's mention of the 49ers as possible destination, sparked the writing of this piece. After ten seasons in St. Louis the Rams decided to part ways with their seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who had previously asked for his release.

Now, the majority of 49er fans don't feel as if an upgrade at wide receiver is an essential need. However, Holt may prefer coming to San Francisco in order to play with his former teammate and be able to face his former team twice a year.

That being the case, Holt may not come at too high of a price.

If Holt can come relatively inexpensive, the upgrade would instantly take the 49ers offense from respectable to dynamic. Whoever the starting quarterback may be, he will have weapons including Josh Morgan, Jason Hill, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Moran Norris, and Delanie Walker to go along with Holt and Bruce.

And that is not even mentioning Arnaz Battle or recently signed Brandon Jones. The 49ers would now have a plethora of offensive weapons, especially at the wide receiver position.

Yes, one could argue that the 49ers already have plenty of wide receivers and there in fact they don't need to bring in another receiver. However, Holt still has the ability to be a No. 1 wide-out, which the 49ers still don't have despite the quality of solid receivers on their roster.

Last season with the Rams Holt put up 796 yards receiving and only three touchdowns, but is only a year removed from catching 93 passes for 1198 yards and seven touchdowns. And the year before that Holt put up the same exact numbers but put found the end-zone 10 different times.

Last year's numbers are an anomaly, as the Rams were terrible, a 2-14 finish, fired their coach and dealt with an enormous amount of injuries.  

Therefore the 49ers should not let Holt's drop in overall numbers deter them from bringing in the 32-year-old receiver. They didn't let it deter them last year when they brought in Bruce, so hopefully the front-office can recognize that Holt may be a perfect fit.

In any case, the 49ers organization ought to at-least consider bringing in some of these older players who can still perform at a high-level. The majority of the 49ers team is on the younger side of thirty with the likes of Joe Staley, Chilo Rachal, David Baas, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Delanie Walker, Josh Morgan, Jason Hill, Patrick Willis, Manny Lawson, Parys Haralson, Justin Smith, and Nate Clements all still in their 20's.

With the core players still in their prime or approaching their prime, filling in the little spot-gap positions with solid veteran players will enhance the performance of the younger players and revive the veterans.

The prime example being the season Isaac Bruce had last year after having a couple of down years in St. Louis.

When it comes to the most pressing needs such as safety, pass-rushing OLB/DE, and offensive-tackle, the 49ers need to focus on drafting franchise players at those positions that will be able to develop into long-time 49ers.

Signing the big-name free agents to the most pressing needs over the past few seasons hasn't panned out.

Nate Clements has been solid but hasn't lived up to his 80 million dollar contract, Jonas Jennings hasn't been able to stay healthy, and the experiment with Antonio Bryant at wide-receiver didn't pan out.

So while the 49ers ought to focus on filling their biggest holes through the draft, they should also be looking to fill their smaller holes through free-agency.

Whether or not it is Jeff Garcia, Deuce McCallister or Torry Holt that they end up signing, the fact is that they need to bring in a veteran player with playoff experience in order to push the offense to the height of its 2009 potential.

Clearly, bringing in Torry Holt may be the piece of the puzzle that propels the 49ers into the playoffs.


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