During the offseason, I think I may have been most worried about the safety position. Given the state of, well, a few position groups on the team right now (cough /receivers! cough), maybe that wasn't the wisest decision. But, while I did think Dashon Goldson was a bit overrated, I still did think the secondary was going to suffer.
So, I wanted the 49ers to sign Ed Reed. Yes, I had some reservations: mainly, his age and the money it would cost. But, to be fair, he wasn't horrible the season before. In 2012, he had 4 interceptions with 15 defended passes and 49 tackles. The 15 defended passes are what got me excited. I didn't mind the lack of run support because this team was supposed to be quite good at stopping the run.
But, with the impending Reed vs. Reid battle coming up on Sunday evening, I think it's as good as a time as ever to say "thank goodness I don't run the 49ers."
It's not that I had anything against Eric Reid. I just thought that the 49ers have a window of contention, and we shouldn't waste a year of that window starting a rookie when one of the better vets was available. Boy was I wrong. Even though it's a small sample size of four games, Reed is continuing his downward trend, while Reid is playing at a level that should probably put him in Rookie of the Year contention if he is able to sustain it over the course of the season.
Whereas both have had injury issues this season (Ed Reed has only played in two games thus far, Eric Reid suffered a concussion), one player really could not be more different from the other. So far Eric Reid, in four games, has 2 interceptions with 3 passes defended and 11 tackles. Pro Football Focus says that in 129 snaps, he has only been targeted 6 times for 4 receptions and 2 interceptions. His coverage has been excellent, and with all small sample size considerations taken into account, he may actually be elevating the coverage of others around him (I'm looking at you Donte Hitner). Mr. Reed has only played in 55 snaps, totaling 5 tackles. To be fair, he hasn't been targeted yet and PFF has been giving him nice marks on the pass coverage front, but I think we have clearly gotten a player who is playing at least at the same level as Mr. Reed, while younger and much cheaper.
One last comment: with how hard Eric Reid seems to be hitting, would it be a bit too macabre to nickname him the ER. A little pun action here; a little George Clooney break-out TV show reference there...
And one final note, I promise: I didn't put this in the article above because it would ruin my "Eric-Reid-is-the-awesomest!" narrative, but he really needs to work on his tackling technique as he rushes up to the line in run support. This is probably what Goldson may have been best at, and given how poor we've been against the run this season, any help we can get would be splendid. So far, it does seem like he is doing a better job of breaking down and wrapping up, but there is still clear room for improvement, even if he is playing about as well as we could hope a rookie would.