49ers adjusting roles of back-up cornerbacks

August 5, 2012, 12:35 am
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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.

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