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49ers Look to Evaluate CB Group

Posted Aug 4, 2013

According to Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers remain interested in free agent cornerback Eric Wright.

According to Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers remain interested in free agent cornerback Eric Wright.

“We’re assessing,” Jim Harbaugh said on Sunday. “There’s a process. Won’t really lay out the plan right now.”

The veteran cornerback, who failed his physical which canceled a trade between the 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, remains on the radar.

The team reportedly reached out to Wright after third cornerback Chris Culliver reportedly suffered an ACL tear to his left knee in training camp. 


Asked about San Francisco’s interest in Wright, Harbaugh said he “believed” the front office had opened up lines of communication with the cornerback.

The 49ers coach didn’t go too deep into the topic when asked about the likelihood of signing Wright.

“Again, don’t have the crystal ball,” Harbaugh said. “But there’s a process.”

Tramaine Brock is currently lining up as San Francisco’s third cornerback. Brock has taken on Culliver’s perimeter role, leaving Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown to hold their normal, slot and perimeter roles, respectively.

The Culliver injury will challenge the entire roster, Rogers stressed on Sunday.

“It hurts, not only him, but it hurts the team,” the nine-year pro said.

Rogers mentored Culliver over the past two seasons and felt like they had strong communication on the field. However, now that Culliver will be out of action, Rogers is looking forward to young cornerbacks like Brock stepping up to fill the void.

“It gives other guys opportunities to step up and play for that third cornerback position and be another guy to help on special teams,” Rogers said. “We still have a number of guys in the secondary who they’re trying to evaluate and see who can step up and play.”

Brock has not backed down from the challenge of playing more. He recorded an impressive interception on Sunday that would have gone for an 80-yard touchdown return should the 49ers have been in a real game scenario.

Even so, Brock has been focused on making the most of his new opportunity to play on the nickel defense’s first unit.

“He’s been stepping up,” said Rogers, who has been mentoring Brock the same way he did with Culliver. “He’s been making plays."

Rogers went on to joke that Brock has been studying film more than he’s used to on the new team-issued iPads.


Should Brock win the job, it will put him back in the position he was two years prior. When Rogers signed in 2011, Brock was the third cornerback, but eventually was injured and lost the role to Culliver.

“I vaguely remember, but that was early for me, too,” Rogers said of the 2011 season, his first Pro Bowl appearance. “It was my first time here, my first time in the system. We were all trying to get our communication down. Tramaine’s been in this defense, so he still knows it. It’s going to take some time and we’re here for training camp, we’re here to get the nicks out.”

Rogers doesn’t expect the starting defense, or nickel defense, to see heavy action in the team’s preseason opener on Thursday night. The veteran cornerback is focused on the work ahead leading up to the home matchup against the Denver Broncos.

Rogers has maintained his hard-working attitude when it comes to mastering the knowledge of his role as the team’s left cornerback on base downs and slot cornerback in the nickel defense. Rogers prides himself on knowing more than one position and wants his teammates to do the same.

Rogers doesn’t want to be the only player to be available as a slot defender.

“You need to have more than one,” he said. “What if something happens to me? You have to have somebody else who knows it… It’s a tough job. P-Cox or whoever is behind me needs to know it. Coaches expect you to.”

Rogers is comfortable with his place in the 49ers defense and feels the same way about his teammates looking to compete for a larger role in 2013.

Should the team bring in another cornerback to bolster the group, Rogers isn’t concerned.

“I don’t want to sound conceited, but I don’t really pay attention,” he said. “Anybody can help the team who we bring in, but I just worry about me… try to make plays for the team. Like I always say, my play stands for itself. Until Coach Vic (Fangio) or Coach Harbaugh comes to me and says that position is challenged or whatever the case may be, that’s what it is. But I just come out here and play every day trying to get better and not really worry about who they’re bringing in.

“If that’s the case, I already lost.”


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