49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 3, 2007
Coverage could be safeties' weakness

Question: Matt, I really enjoy your Q&A. I really love the potential of the 49ers' defense this year; my only real concern is the safety position. It has great run-stopping potential but it doesn't seem like we have enough pass-coverage ability back there. How do you view the safety position?

Steve, Penryn

Answer: The safeties certainly will be able to punish runners and pass catchers alike, but you're right - Michael Lewis and Keith Lewis, two of the top three safeties, aren't exactly known for their coverage ability. I think the addition of Nate Clements at cornerback somewhat diminishes the need for a great coverage safety. The plan is to have Clements take away half the field and allow Michael Lewis to play closer to the line of scrimmage. The secondary as a whole seems designed to take on the big, physical Cardinals receivers who have given the 49ers fits in recent years. You have to wonder, though, how it will fare against the speedier, shiftier receivers on the Rams and Seahawks.

- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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