Training camp hype is an unavoidable trap that every single sports fan falls into at one time or another. Every fan of the San Francisco 49ers on this site has read something about training camp and gotten excited, only for that thing to ultimately disappoint. Throughout camp we read a lot about young cornerbacks Keith Reaser and Kenneth Acker, and how they were constantly impressing both the coaches and the beat writers.
In situations like that, I try and take myself out of the fandom equation and look at how I might read that report. If I were a fan of, say, the Minnesota Vikings and a 49ers fan told me all about Reaser and Acker, two players who basically missed their rookie seasons with injuries lighting it up in training camp, I'd probably roll my eyes. Surviving in the NFL is a tough, tough thing and the majority of the people who try fail.
But I have to say, I am interested in Reaser or Acker. Unlike a lot of folks, I'm not hyped per se, as I'm still fairly convinced it's a whole lot of hype and want to actually see something first. Fortunately, we probably will see something today when the 49ers take on the Dallas Cowboys.
My guess is Tramaine Brock is one starter, Dontae Johnson and Shareece Wright will definitely get playing time and after that it's everyone else. My guess is the time the 49ers have given Reaser (and Acker, at nickel back) with the starters in camp is just a way to get creative with the lineup and evaluate a position that is, at its core, fairly fluid. Today, I expect those players to get some time with starters to, again, evaluate things. I don't think it's a sign of Reaser coming out as a top tier cornerback, but I do think his performance has earned him a shot.
When I'm not watching the returners or the abysmal offensive line today, you can bet I'm going to be watching the defensive backs. Part of that interest is rooted in me being very much of the opinion that Wright is not a good corner while hoping Reaser or Acker can unseat him. Part of it is giving some kind of credence to the training camp hype, and the other part just desperately hopes something positive happens at a position that everyone who isn't a 49ers fan recognizing as an extreme position of need.
Maybe I'm cynical overall -- I'd love for Reaser or Acker to prove me wrong. Let's see what they can do on Sunday! It will be particularly interesting to see how much time Reaser gets overall, with both the starters and the backups.