As the San Francisco 49ers get ready to embark on the second half of the 2013 season beginning with a Week 9 home game against the improved Carolina Panthers, the 49ers go into the game 6-2 and riding a five-game winning streak. During the streak a lot of positives have come out of their play in the first half of the season. This is especially true on the defensive side of the ball where the play of the 49ers defense has been worthy of their top 10 overall ranking.
As the 49ers head into the second half, there are always aspects that could be improved or maintained. One could argue that the biggest key for the 49ers defense heading into the second half of the season is the ability to rush the passer. But with the return of Aldon Smith, presuming the NFL doesn’t suspend him for an extended period of time, and the activation of Tank Carradine along with the emergence of Corey Lemonier, rushing the passer should not be an issue for the 49ers defense.
For me, the biggest key for the 49ers defense headed into the second half of the season is the play of the secondary and in particular, the play of their cornerbacks. They have done a good job so far in not being as much of a weak link as they were expected to be after entering the season under the microscope. They have been burned a few times by gambling and jumping on a couple of pass routes, but more often than not their risk taking has resulted in them picking off several passes and playing well in general.
With Eric Wright being activated onto the active roster on Monday, it is clear that the 49ers have settled on four cornerbacks whom they trust and feel confident in playing to go along with Carlos Rogers, Tarrell Brown, and Tramaine Brock. By them continuing to play well as a unit, this will mean that the 49ers defense will continue to thrive and even play better as a sub unit here in the second half of the season.