Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan says Ahkello Witherspoon gives the 49ers their best chance to win

Nov 25, 2019 at 2:48 PM--

Ahkello Witherspoon is being eased back into the defense while returning from a foot sprain suffered during Week 3. After playing just six snaps against the Arizona Cardinals a week ago, the San Francisco 49ers' third-year cornerback played 49 snaps on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers.

Emmanuel Moseley got the start, though, which was a bit of a surprise because head coach Kyle Shanahan had insisted that, once healthy, Witherspoon would be the team's starter opposite Richard Sherman.

Witherspoon ended up playing four more snaps on defense than Moseley and looks to be on his way back to regaining his starting job. Although, Moseley ended up with Pro Football Focus' higher grade from the game (72.1 versus 61.7).

"I thought Ahkello did a real good job," Shanahan told reporters on Monday. "We knew we were going to try to get him in about four series in that game. He ended up getting a little bit more than that, especially with Emmanuel going in and out some. Sherm went out for, I think, a play or two, also.

"I was impressed with him. He's still not all the way back yet, which we understand that. It takes some time, especially as a corner, but when he got in there, it was nice that he could play a little bit more, and I think he's getting close to being fully back."

Shanahan isn't deviating from his belief that Witherspoon will be the starter once the cornerback is ready.

"Ahkello is our guy, and once he gets fully back there, then I definitely think he'll give us the best chance to win, and he'll be out there the most," Shanahan added.

One other contributing factor to Witherspoon receiving more opportunities on Sunday night was that Moseley was not 100 percent himself. He is dealing with an ankle sprain from Week 11, and there is some "wear and tear on that," says Shanahan.

The 49ers have a lot of faith in Moseley, though.

"Moseley has also done a hell of a job and shown this league that he's a real good player," Shanahan continued, "that he plays at a starter level, so that's not a decision that you make until it's without a doubt clear."

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