The San Francisco 49ers continue to roll through the 2013 offseason as rightful Super Bowl favorites even after Michael Crabtree went down with his Achilles injury; General manager Trent Baalke has assembled a stacked roster that’s among the league’s best at an astounding number of positions.
However, like the receiver position that Crabtree’s injury thinned, the secondary also remains a bit of a question mark. This unit has the talent to avoid becoming a weakness, but struggles down the stretch last season against the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens brings the Niner defensive backs under scrutiny during training camp.
The one defensive starter missing from training camp happens to be the one sure thing in this secondary, as top corner Tarell Brown elected to train close to home in Texas this offseason.
“For me, I wanted to do a different type of training to get my body ready,” Brown said in a phone interview with the San Jose Mercury News. “Last year, I feel my body broke down a bit at the end of the season.”
Brown ranked a team-high 13th in Pro Football Focus’ cornerback gradings in 2012, and I’m assuming still has the edge over Nnamdi Asomugha, Chris Culliver and Carlos Rogers due to Brown’s superior play. Brown was tasked with a lot in San Fran’s coverage scheme, yet allowed a quarterback rating of just 77.7 into his responsibility last season.
According to beat reporter Matt Barrows, the Niners have lined up Rogers, Culliver and Asomugha as their top three corners in Brown’s absence while Asomugha has been worked in at right cornerback with the first team.