Our 49ers.com training camp positional previews continue with a look at the crop of safeties on San Francisco’s roster. The coaching staff will have the opportunity to deploy a diverse and talented group to anchor the team's secondary.
Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Jaquiski Tartt, L.J. McCrayNewcomers:
Jered Bell (Undrafted Free Agent, Colorado)What we know:
This group will have plenty of stability from a season ago as the prominent faces at the position remain the same. Tartt joins San Francisco’s 2015 opening day starters, Reid and Bethea, as the trio of players expected to make the biggest impact in 2016.
Reid has been a starter since being drafted 18th overall in 2013 and has only missed one game in his three NFL seasons. Bethea had his streak of 119 consecutive games played snapped last season after suffering an upper body injury in Week 7. The ailment may prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Bethea will enter training camp with a clean bill of health, and he’s back to full-speed having participated in the entire offseason program. Additionally, Tartt was thrown into the fire as a rookie and received eight starts of invaluable game experience. The hard-hitting Samford product tallied 64 tackles, a forced fumble, two sacks and one interception.What we’ll find out:
What creative ways will defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil find to get all three players in-game reps? Will there be instances where all three players are on the field at the same time?
These are questions that will be answered over the next month and into Week 1 of the regular season. O’Neil and defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley certainly aren’t arguing with San Francisco’s current depth at the position.
Hafley spoke about all three of the players during the offseason program. The coach praised each safety for their versatility and diverse skillset, Tartt especially.
“He’s another guy who has size, skill set and versatility to do a lot of different things,” Hafley said. “With him it’s just teaching him, pushing him on the field and working on his fundamentals. Hopefully we’ll be able to develop and use him in a lot of ways.”Quote of the offseason:
“I think I like this one the best. It just makes sense. When you line up and get a call, I know exactly what I’m doing and I know exactly what the guy next to me is doing. When you feel that way, you can be confident about the way you break on a ball. You know where the weaknesses are, and you know where your strengths are.” – Reid on O’Neil’s defensive scheme.