Eric Reid Named Starting Free Safety


The San Francisco 49ers announced Eric Reid will be a Week 1 starter.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio shared the news in his Tuesday press conference and then the media shared the news with the first-round draft pick of his decision shortly after.

Fangio singled out Reid's steady progress with the 49ers.

"He's getting better each and every day," the respected coordinator said. "Overall, he's just been steady.

He's grown into the position which has allowed his ability to come through more. He's tackled well in the games, which is important for us... We think he'll continue to improve as the season goes on."

Reid smiled after learning he had earned a starting job.

"It's obviously good news for me, so I'm just going to keep working hard and try to keep the spot," the No. 18 overall draft pick said.

Reid didn't know of the news right away. How did he find out?

"You just told me now," Reid said to a reporter.

The rookie safety later caught up with Fangio in the locker room and smiled at his coordinator.

"I just heard," Reid said.

Reid has been running with the first-team defense for most of training camp and made his first preseason start in San Francisco's 34-14 preseason win over the Minnesota Vikings.

"I did feel comfortable, but I think that's a credit to training camp," Reid said. "I've spent time with those guys in camp and for the past couple of days. It's just like practice, just differnt guys in different uniforms."

The Vikings tried to attack Reid on the very first play from scrimmage with a play-action deep ball, but Reid felt he was in position to make a play on the pass intended for Greg Jennings.

"It's something we always go over in gameplans, especially with one receiver on the field," Reid said. "It's a max protection scheme. Some teams like to take a chance on it. I was responsible for the post, so I stayed on the post and he threw a long fly ball."

Reid said being the Week 1 starter was "always the goal."

"It's always been a dream of mine," Reid added. "I think everyone in this locker room would say the same thing. For me, I say it all the time, it's about getting better every day. I set the goal for the day, get better at something, fix something I messed up on yesterday and I think that makes me better as a player."


Fangio commended his rookie for earning the starting job opposite of Donte Whitner.

Reid praised Whitner for helping him along the way. The Pro Bowl strong safety has been a big mentor for Reid and even allows him to make all the defensive calls in certain parts of practice.

Whitner returned the praise in the rookie's direction.

"From high school onto college, he's always been a good student and a student of the game," Whitner said of Reid. "When you put those together with a guy who is willing to work, that is why you win a starting free safety spot on arguable the best defense as a rookie. It's hard to do, and he did it."

The 49ers coach joined in applauding the rookie safety for earning the right to start.

"He's been good," Jim Harbaugh said of Reid. "He's shown that he's picked up the system fast and has played well in games. It's been a nice progression, a nice process for him."

Reid has done his best to learn the nuances of San Francisco's defense as fast as possible.

"I feel like a professional football player now," Reid said with a grin. "The first day I got here it was a lot faster than college. The defense was a little bit tougher. It just takes practice and repetition."

Reid has not amped up his studying of Green Bay's defenses just yet. He's still focused on his daily improvements. Studying Aaron Rodgers and the Packers high-powered passing attack will soon be a priority.

"I imagine we'll be starting shortly," Reid said.


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