Webster injury forces Rumph into spotlight

Updated: August 21, 2003, 11:48 AM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
The San Francisco 49ers has recently been the recipient of both good news and bad news. The good news is that according to the San Francisco Chronicle, second-year cornerback Mike Rumph only suffered a strained groin after being carted off the field Tuesday. Coach Dennis Erickson anticipates Rumph returning to practice early next week. The bad news is that with the injury to Jason Webster, Rumph has now been elevated to the first team.

Starter Jason Webster will miss anywhere from four-to-eight weeks after he sustained a slight fracture of his right tibia earlier this week, meaning Rumph will be on the front line for almost the entire first half of the season.

Rumph was a highly-touted rookie last year, but he played so poorly that even he admits when he watches tape of himself he has to close his eyes. He was partly responsible for the fact that the Niners finished dead last in third down defense last year, allowing opponents to convert 47 percent of their chances. To illustrate how truly pathetic that was, the league average was 39 percent.