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October 24, 2013
Fangio: Cornerback Eric Wright making strides in practice

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Cornerback Eric Wright spent his first week of practice with the 49ers working on the scout team. This week, he's received a promotion of sorts -- working with the 49ers' defense.

"A few snaps here and there," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday. "Obviously, he's not comfortable in the system yet, but he's a guy that we think, once he kind of grasps it, he'll grow by leaps and bounds quickly."

The 49ers have a unique situation at cornerback in that they have six of them and all have value to the team. In a week and a half, the 49ers must decide whether to elevate Wright, who is currently on the non-football injury/illness list, to the 53-man roster. When that happens, another player -- likely a cornerback -- must be taken off the active roster.

Wright's advantage is that he has experience and can play on the outside as well as in the slot as a nickel- or dime-defense cornerback.

Asked if the 49ers had a tough decision looming, Fangio said, "It could be, but eventually there will be a spot for a cornerback-slash-nickel-dime player. They'll eventually work their way out there."

He said that could come through attrition or by Wright proving he is simply better than someone else on the roster.

If Wright is brought to the 53-man roster, Nnamdi Asomugha could be released. Asomugha began the season as the team's No. 3 cornerback, but Tramaine Brock has taken over that role and Asomugha has been inactive the last two games.

Then again, Asomugha has starting experience. Perrish Cox currently plays the dime-cornerback role, and if Fangio and his staff determine that Wright is better at it, Cox could be expendable. A third cornerback, rookie Darryl Morris, is eligible for the practice squad. Morris, however, has stood out on special teams in recent weeks.

-- 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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