Posted: 9:00 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013
By David Fucillo
The San Francisco 49ers defense put together a strong showing against the Denver Broncos in Week 1 of the preseason, and they followed that up with four more strong quarters against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.
The 49ers secondary entered the preseason with question marks about the rotation, and which corners actually would end up making the roster. I don't think we were able to learn a lot from Week 2, but it did give us a little more insight into the 49ers cornerback rotation.
I went back through the 49ers defensive snaps, and these were the cornerback pairings, with the third cornerback in the nickel listed in parenthesis:
The Chiefs offense has some big weapons, but they did not take too many chances deep. Instead, they were content to dump off to running backs and tight ends for much of the game. The first half saw Alex Smith complete 7 of 16 passes for 62 yards. It is worth noting that three of the incompletions came on bad drops by the receivers. Arguably the most notable drop saw Jonathan Baldwin run a post pattern past Tramaine Brock. He dropped the pass, although Eric Reid was coming in over the top, so it is possible Baldwin heard foot steps.
The most notable deep ball was an Alex Smith pass to Baldwin in the end zone. Nnamdi was in coverage, and Baldwin initially appeared to get the step past him. However, Nnamdi had C.J. Spillman over the top, and he was able to recover fairly well. He benefited from Baldwin losing his footing a bit, but for the most part, Baldwin was covered on the play.
It was generally a solid day for the secondary. The most notable part of the game was probably that Darryl Morris only got one snap on defense, while Perrish Cox led the defense with 44 snaps. He covered the slot after Carlos Rogers departed the game, and then took over the right corner spot when Nnamdi Asomugha departed. Cox and Tramaine Brock led the cornerbacks in playing time.
The cornerbacks as a whole seem to be doing good work, which makes it difficult to sort through how the position competition is looking. Brock is getting more work than Nnamdi, but that might be in part because the want to see what he can do. Brock continues to get first team snaps as the third cornerback, so we'll see if that continues this coming week against the Vikings.
The big question mark right now is with Darryl Morris. The speedy undrafted free agent has gotten some compliments from Vic Fangio, but I'm not sure how positive it is when he only got one defensive snap in the game. This followed the opener in which he got no defensive snaps. Getting special teams work is helpful, but with Cooper getting similar special teams work AND getting the third/fourth string cornerback snaps, it would not seem to bode well for Morris.