When Mark Brunell was a backup quarterback at Green Bay, he studied film of Steve Young to help learn the offense Mike Holmgren brought over from San Francisco.
Brunell has enough to contend with in trying to move Jacksonville’s offense consistently, but comparisons with Young are sure to be brought up Sunday night when the Jaguars face the 49ers.
Yes, both are left-handed. Yes, they are always a threat to run. And both even wear No. 8.
“One player has taken his team to the Super Bowl, the other player is working to do that,” 49ers coach George Seifert said. “But aside from that, there are comparisons”
Brunell rolls his eyes at the mention of similarities.
“We’re in a totally different offense,” he said. “And I weigh 10 pounds more than him.”
The most common comparison is the running, something Brunell has tried to cut back on. The Jaguars acquired two key free agents to help with the passing game - Pro Bowl right tackle Leon Searcy to protect his blind side, and four-time Pro Bowl receiver Andre Rison.
Rison has looked impressive in two preseason games and Brunell has had more protection than at any time last year.
Still, he took off on a 16-yard run to set up a score in a 24-17 loss to the New York Giants. And last week against the Rams, he scored the Jaguars’ only touchdown on a 37-yard run.
“This game is important to me because we need to be more consistent, and it’s another opportunity to prove we can be a good offensive football team,” Brunell said. “This is probably the toughest team we’ve faced in franchise history. It’s preseason, but it will be a big test for us.”
The third preseason game figured to be important to the 49ers because Seifert intends to pull back next week on artificial turf against Seattle.