49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 2, 2013
Fangio: jury still out on Nnamdi Asomugha

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Jim Harbaugh on Thursday was ebullient about how newcomer cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has looked in training camp. Vic Fangio on Friday was less so.

"He's had some good days out here and some days where we weren't sure if he was going to be able to still have it," the 49ers defensive coordinator said. "So I think we're kind of in between with him right now. Hopefully he'll be able to still have gas left in the tank to be able to go out and play like he did prior to going to Philadelphia. So I think the jury is still out."

The difference in assessment is partially do to personal style. Harbaugh always will defend his players and otherwise talk them up, even if they have been less-than-stellar on the field. (See: Jenkins, AJ; circa summer 2012). Fangio, meanwhile, is more reserved and circumspect, and he's more difficult to impress.

Fangio also has a competition on his hands and doesn't want anyone to feel too comfortable.

Before Chris Culliver's season-ending injury Thursday, the makeup of the 49ers' cornerback rotation was clear: As was the case last year, Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown would be the starting cornerback while Culliver would come in on nickel downs.

With Culliver out, that third-down role is now up in the air, and Fangio said there was competition among Asomugha, Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox to win it. Brock mostly filled in for Culliver on Thursday; Asomugha on Friday.

Brock was the team's No. 3 cornerback early in 2011, and he began that season with two interceptions. But he broke his hand in Week 2. Culliver -- then a rookie -- stepped into the role in Brock's absence and never gave up the job. Now Brock has a chance to win it back.

"Good quickness, good speed, good ball skills," Fangio said of Brock. "Now it may be a chance to go out there, show what he's got and take this job."

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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