Cornerback roles will be some of the most competitive battles set to take place when training camp practices begin for the 49ers on Thursday.
The team nearly acquired Eric Wright through a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signaling an emphasis on creating depth at the position. Although the veteran cornerback failed a physical which negated the deal, San Francisco’s General Manager made it known that he was looking to add talent to the team’s cornerback group.
Trent Baalke said he wanted to see competition from his cornerbacks when camp begins.
The ninth-year pro is comfortable with his status on the team as a key defensive cog and is not looking over his shoulder at other cornerbacks who are looking to earn playing time in 2013.
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Rogers stated he doesn’t expect his gameday responsibilities to change in his third season with the 49ers. Rogers has started every game he’s played in for the 49ers in two seasons. When asked about how his role could change this training camp, Rogers said he didn’t feel like his starting role on defense would be challenged.
“Still on that left side, go inside on third down and play the nickel,” Rogers said on Wednesday.
Rogers prides himself on the mental aspect of the game, studying opponents each week to handle the challenges that come with playing as the team’s starting cornerback on the left side of the field and as a slot cornerback in multi-receiver sets.
Rogers’ preparation enables his confident play. He also tries not to worry about anything but his own performance.
“Everybody is going to be back there competing,” Rogers said of the team’s talented cornerback group which now includes 11-year veteran
Rogers remains intent on handling his multitasking role on San Francisco’s defense. In fact, he worked with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio this offseason to review all of the 49ers defensive coverages.
Rogers was pleased with how the group ranked in 2012, but felt like production could pick up.
“Our secondary was ranked No. 4 in the league last year,” Rogers shared. “We were pretty good, but being ranked No. 4, you’re not ranked No. 1. So there are still things we can get better at.”
[ PHOTOS - 49ERS CAMP PREVIEW: CORNERBACKS ]
Camp will allow the defensive backs an opportunity to showcase their abilities to Fangio and the 49ers defensive staff. Rogers will use the early practices to continue to improve his fundamentals while getting back into better football shape.
Rogers will look to continue making strides both as a perimeter defender and in his slot duties. The slot role poses quite the challenge to a veteran like Rogers, who has maintained that challenging spot over the past two seasons playing under Fangio.
“It’s not an easy job,” Rogers said. “You get guys on the outside a lot of times, coaches roll coverages to you, you have safety help over the top.
“In the slot, guys have so many directions to go. It’s a hard position.”
Rogers isn’t backing down from the challenge. With NFC West foes adding speedy slot play-makers, Percy Harvin in Seattle and Tavon Austin in St. Louis, Rogers is already gearing up for the challenges set to take place in the regular season.
“Each week presents something different just try to challenge every guy because they’re all different.”