49ers adjusting roles of back-up cornerbacks


49ers adjusting roles of back-up cornerbacks

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers' cornerbacks are well aware which quarterbacks are on the 2012 schedule.

Aaron Rogers Week 1. Matthew Stafford Week 2. Eli Manning Week 6. Drew Brees Week 12. Tom Brady week 15.

The prolific quintet averaged 5,065 passing yards last season, as well as 317 yards per game, 8.42 yards per completion, a 66 completion rate and 40 touchdowns. But the Big 5 is drawing little attention from the 49ers at this point in training camp.

Well talk about it when it gets a little closer, said cornerback Tarell Brown. We know that we have a tough schedule ahead of us but right now were focused on getting better.

Getting better means mastering technique and route recognition, especially for the players who will back up the starters, Carlos Rogers and Brown.

"Particularly for a corner, playing only in passing situations is different than playing in all situations," said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. "The route variety and the types of plays that you see if youre playing first and second down as one of the regular corners, there's much more to learn, much more to see and be ready for it."

To help build the back-up corners' strengths, and improve the units depth, the 49ers coaching staff adjusted the responsibilities of certain players. Tramaine Brock, the third corner last season before he got hurt, is one of those players.

Hes had a good camp so far, been pleased with the way hes playing, said Fangio. He knew he had to improve in his corner play. He was another guy that has some ability to play inside in the nickel package. We took that off his plate. We wanted him to focus right now on becoming the best corner he can become.

Chris Culliver will remain on the outside for his second season, and gladly.

Ill leave that to Carlos, said a smiling Culliver.

But Culliver is learning to play right corner this camp. He played mainly on the left his rookie year.

Im getting a nice quality of reps and just learning both sides, Culliver said. Because if T-Brown or somebody goes down, I want to be able to show that I can play both and work that in there somewhere.

While Rogers moves inside to play the slot in nickel and dime packages, Fangio has more options for the inside positions this camp than he had last season.

We have the addition of Perrish Cox. We have Tarell Brown in there and we have Mike Thomas thats been working in there. So, weve gotten four guys that are getting good reps. Now, Tarell Brown doesnt get a lot of reps in there, but ... we are expecting him to be ready to go in there at any time and I know that hes keeping up on that position.

If the 49ers cornerbacks keep up when they face the top quarterbacks of 2011, well, theyll be sure to draw some attention of their own.

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL


Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers


Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

One week after center Jeremy Zuttah played his way off the 49ers’ roster in short order, he ended up back with the team that got rid of him to open the offseason.

The Baltimore Ravens on Friday announced the signing of Zuttah, whom the 49ers released on Aug. 9 after acquiring him from the Ravens in a March trade.

The 49ers determined center Daniel Kilgore was clearly better than Zuttah. Moreover, Zuttah he did not demonstrate any promise of being an asset at either of the guard positions.

Zuttah, 31, played the past three seasons with the Ravens after six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Zuttah was named to his first Pro Bowl after last season.

The 49ers originally acquired Zuttah in a swap of sixth-round draft picks. The Ravens received the 49ers’ pick at No. 186 and selected Virginia Tech safety Chuck Clark. The 49ers took over Baltimore’s selection at No. 198 and chose Mississippi defensive tackle D.J. Jones.

The 49ers are confident in Kilgore and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown. However, there is concern at the guard positions.

Brandon Fusco appears to be earning the confidence of the coaching staff at right guard. But left guard remains a concern. Zane Beadles is currently the starter while Joshua Garnett rehabs from arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage. The 49ers are hopeful Garnett will be available for the opening of the regular season.