Competition is antidote for complacency

October 25, 2011, 4:14 pm
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One way to guard against complacency is to make it clear that competition continues within the team. And that is what coach Jim Harbaugh is doing with the 49ers.
For instance, Tramaine Brock recorded two interceptions in the first two games as the 49ers' No. 3 cornerback. Then, he sustained a broken hand and underwent surgery. Then, veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer stepped in and played well.When Spencer missed a couple practices with a toe injury, rookie Chris Culliver was called upon against Tampa Bay and Detroit. Culliver certainly played well enough to keep the job.But, now, Culliver must continue to practice and play better than Brock and Spencer to hold onto the job, Harbaugh said.
"I think that's general rule," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday. "That's the way we always do it. There's no games. It's just who's practicing, playing better."There is a lot at stake in the competition for the No. 3 job. Culliver played about 60 snaps against the Lions. While Spencer really did not have a role on defense. And with Brock returning to the mix, even starters Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown know they must continue to compete a high levels.
There are some other positions where competition will continue, too:--Rookie Bruce Miller, after a rough first game, blocked well and showed a lot of versatility at fullback the past three games. Veteran Moran Norris, who struggled in the first couple games, will soon be returning from a broken fibula.--Adam Snyder has provided more consistency at right guard after Chilo Rachal was benched. But Rachal did his job in the fourth quarter against the Lions when Snyder left the game due to a shoulder stinger.--Braylon Edwards is due back at practice this week after undergoing Sept. 19 surgery to repair a torn meniscus cartilage. Ted Ginn, who got his first start with the 49ers two weeks ago against the Lions, is part of an ongoing competition that includes Kyle Williams for the order of the top four receiver slots.

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