Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

49ers safety Adrian Colbert embracing competition, trying to return to the fundamentals

May 30, 2019 at 7:00 AM--

Adrian Colbert is finding himself in a very different situation than last offseason when he was the man to beat for the starting free safety job. A year later, he is competing for playing time.

Colbert is embracing the challenge.

"It's fun," he told reporters on Wednesday. "As an athlete, as a competitor, you just love the feeling of competition. We're all competing for that one common goal, and I think it's going to make all of us better."

After a strong rookie campaign, the then-second-year safety found himself among several San Francisco 49ers players seemingly stuck in a sophomore slump. Dealing with injuries didn't help the situation. Colbert tried to work his way through hamstring and hip injuries before finally succumbing to a high-ankle sprain which landed him on injured reserve in October.

Colbert refuses to use injuries as an excuse. After all, he felt he was healthy enough to contribute on the football field.

"I checked in," Colbert said. "I told everybody I was good, so if you step on that field, you've got to perform the way you're expected to perform."

Colbert finished 2018 with 21 combined tackles and a pass defensed through seven games and six starts. His overall Pro Football Focus grade saw a drop from a respectable 73.1 in 2017 to an abysmal 31.7 in 2018. In fact, he saw declines in several categories, including run defense, tackling, and coverage. Colbert gave up four touchdowns in fewer coverage snaps in 2018 compared to the one he gave up the year before.

It wasn't the sophomore outing the former seventh-round draft pick was hoping to have. To what does Colbert attribute the fall-off? He wasn't playing like himself. Colbert was trying to be something or someone he wasn't.

"I watched a lot of tape of a whole bunch of different safeties that ran the Cover 3 the same way we do or similar to us," Colbert explained. "I saw a lot of them playing really aggressive, cutting things."

Colbert was trying to mimic those other players hoping he could produce the same results. It had the opposite effect, and his new defensive backs coach noticed.

"I watched Colbert, every single snap, the first thing I did when I got here," said Joe Woods, who also serves as a defensive passing game coordinator. "What happened, you look at the tape the year before, and he was sitting back playing his technique. Then last year, he started pressing, trying to make plays, trying to come out of the post, and that's the worst thing you can do as a secondary player is try to press to make plays regardless of the situation.

"I think for Colbert and for [Ahkello Witherspoon], that's what they both tried to do and they put themselves in bad situations. They've just got to go out there and do the best they can to make the plays they're supposed to make, period."

Colbert is feeling healthier and stronger now. In addition to gaining weight and going from 195 pounds to 210, he is also spending this offseason focusing on the fundamentals of the defensive scheme. Colbert does not concern himself with trying to do too much.

You can watch Colbert speak to reporters below, courtesy of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Grant Cohn.

You can watch Woods speak to reporters below.

More San Francisco 49ers News

49ers place newly-signed safety on injured reserve, re-sign Kai Nacua to practice squad

By David Bonilla
Dec 2

On Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers signed safety Doug Middleton to the practice squad. One day later, the team placed him on the injured reserve list. The situation has prompted the 49ers to re-sign safety Kai Nacua to the practice squad. San Francisco released Nacua on Wednesday as part of a move to make room on the practice squad for Middleton and linebacker Justin March. The 49ers initially signed Nacua to the practice squad on November 24, 2020. He spent part of last season on the active roster and signed a one-year extension to remain with the team on February 11. Nacua entered the NFL with the Cleveland Browns in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of BYU. He has appeared in 22 games with three starts while recording 15 tackles, a tackle for

49ers' Kyle Shanahan provides an update on Dee Ford's return

By David Bonilla
Nov 29

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan had hoped his veteran pass rusher, Dee Ford, would return for this past weekend's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and Ford remains on the injured reserve list after the 49ers opened his practice window last week. Back issues landed Ford landed on injured reserve. On Monday, Shanahan spoke with reporters via a conference call and provided an update on his recovering defender. "We tried him out last week," Shanahan said. "We hoped to ease him in a little bit and hoped he'd be able to go. He wasn't able to, so we'll try the same plan this week and see if it does better." In his six game appearances this season, Ford recorded five tackles, two tackles for a loss, three

49ers-Seahawks: JaMycal Hasty and Maurice Hurst could return

By David Bonilla
Dec 1

Sunday could feature the return of two key San Francisco 49ers role players—running back JaMycal Hasty and defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. Hasty has been dealing with the ankle injury he suffered during Week 9's game against the Arizona Cardinals. Hurst sustained a calf injury during an October practice. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said both players will be limited in Wednesday's practice but could play on Sunday. The coach added that several players would not practice. They are wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin), linebacker Fred Warner (hamstring), running back Trey Sermon (ankle), linebacker Dre Greenlaw (groin), and linebacker Marcell Harris (concussion protocol).

Deebo Samuel expects to return next week for 49ers-Bengals, predicts Super Bowl run

By David Bonilla
Dec 2

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said his star wide receiver, Deebo Samuel, is expected to miss one to two weeks with a groin strain. Don't tell Samuel it could take him two weeks, though. The team's leading receiver is betting on the lower end of his coach's estimate. On Wednesday, Samuel joined CBS Sports HQ and was asked if he expects to return for Week 14's contest against the Cincinnati Bengals after missing this weekend's battle against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field. "Of course," Samuel responded. "It's only going to take a week, so [I'll] be back next week." That's good news for the 49ers, who are surging right now, having won three straight games and four of their last five. After starting 3-5, Samuel's squad is now 6-5 and


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone