Found June 19, 2013 on
Football and Futbol:
A lot of eyes around the San Francisco 49ers’s minicamps this offseason have been focused on the budding competition for the starting safety positions. With the defection of former niner free safety Dashon Goldson to Tampa Bay, there is a vacancy in the backfield of the stout SF defense, and several players have thrown their hats in the ring to take it.
Strong safety is essentially locked down, with incumbent starter Donte Whitner unlikely to relinquish his spot. Whitner had a stellar 2012 campaign for the Red and Gold with 83 tackles combined with two forced fumbles and an interception in 16 starts en route to his first Pro Bowl of his career, and San Francisco seems expectant that he will continue to improve as the captain of the 49er backfield moving forward.
The niners made two key moves this offseason to add significantly to their safety depth: signing Craig Dahl from the rival St. Louis Rams, and moving up in the draft to take Eric Reid out of LSU. Dahl brings experience (42 starts since 2007) and a Super Bowl resume (2007 with the NY Giants). Anybody who studies film on him will notice, however, his lack of top speed and playmaking ability. Still, he does bring with him intimate knowledge of the division rival Rams’ defensive mindset and strategies, and does not seem afraid to share them with his new coaching staff.
Reid, meanwhile, has been long sought after by coach Jim Harbaugh since his high school days. He registered 91 tackles and 2 interceptions along with 9 pass deflections his junior year for the LSU Tigers before declaring for the draft, and was a first team All-American. If Harbaugh had his way, however, Reid never would’ve even gone to LSU. Reid made it known while attending Dutchtown High School in Louisiana that Louisiana State University was the only school he was interested in attending, but that did not dissuade Harbaugh (then coach of the Stanford Cardinals) of offering him a full scholarship to Stanford, the only offer Reid had aside from LSU’s own. While Reid said thanks but no thanks at that time to Harbaugh’s proposal, he seems excited now to get a chance to play under a coach who seems to appreciate the potential he sees in a young kid out of the draft.
C.J. Spillman might have something to say about Dahl or Reid taking the starting spot, being the only one of the three main contenders with previous experience with the current 49ers’ roster. Spillman has earned himself a hard fought reputation for being a fierce competitor, serving as the primary backup for both Whitner and Goldson, while being a primary contributor to the special teams squad. Spillman has been patient, waiting in the wings, but seems to sense the opportunity presented to him now, and will be putting forth his best effort to take it.
Vying for a spot on the team behind the three front runners are practice squaders Trenton Robinson, Darcel McBath, and rookie free agent Michael Thomas, who will have their own 3-man race to not be the one cut from the roster. All are young and talented, but do not appear to be in a position at this juncture to seriously compete for playing time.
It looks like San Francisco has more than enough talent and desire on it’s roster to make up for the loss of Goldson, and it should be entertaining to watch the continuing contest for the rights to be named a starter for the Super Bowl hopeful 49ers’ defense throughout the offseason.
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The #49ers have signed DT Justin Smith to a two-year contract extension through 2015.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) June 19, 2013
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