Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

‘It’s fun to watch’: Robert Saleh discusses the 49ers’ cornerback competition

Aug 21, 2020 at 1:40 PM--

Most assumed Emmanuel Moseley was the frontrunner for the starting cornerback job across from Richard Sherman on the San Francisco 49ers defense. That may still be the case, but the team has declared that spot an open competition.

So far, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh likes what he's seen from that battle.

"They're really competing," Saleh said after Friday's practice. "They're doing a great job helping one another out. It's a selfless competition over there."

Moseley is trying to fend off Ahkello Witherspoon and Jason Verrett while Dontae Johnson and Tim Harris also fight for positioning on the depth chart.

"Moseley has picked up where he left off. He looks fantastic," Saleh continued. "Witherspoon's looking like he did during OTAs and training camp a year ago, and the first four games of the year, so he's competing his tail off.

"Verrett has a new confidence. Dontae Johnson is in there competing his tail off. Tim Harris, people forget about him. He's getting his first true training camp.

"I'm sure I'm forgetting someone, but they're really doing a great job of competing and trying to take advantage of every single rep, just owning their personal moments."

Verrett has endured an injury-plagued NFL career and landed on injured reserve in all but one season. It happened again last year.

Sherman spoke about Verrett on Friday and knows he is capable of being a great player. That one healthy season, after all, resulted in a Pro Bowl selection.

"He's way further along this year," Sherman said. "His feet look incredible. His confidence is rising with every day. He's so sound, and he's so hard on himself, and so tough on himself. But he's been fantastic at the line of scrimmage. That's something that, coming into camp, he wanted to improve on, and something that he's improved drastically on just from last year.

"In his best years, he was incredible at the line of scrimmage. I think he's regaining that form and that confidence, and it's been exciting to see for our team."

The unique brotherhood present in this 49ers roster means the battles against one another are left on the practice field. While players are competing with one another, those fighting for spots and jobs, like Verrett, Moseley, and Witherspoon, are also encouraging one another.

"They're locked in, they're focused, and I really think they're enjoying the heck out of it," Saleh added. "It's fun to watch, and it's fun to watch them pull each other along and root each other on while at the same time competing."

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