The San Francisco 49ers secondary will feature a lot of new faces in 2015 following the departures of Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver. Through the first three weeks of training camp and the preseason, Tramaine Brock appears locked in as the No. 1 cornerback. After that, the last two weeks and Jim Tomsula's comments throughout leave the situation a bit of a mystery.
Free agent addition Shareece Wright got the bulk of the first team snaps the first two weeks of practice, and then in the team's preseason opener against the Houston Texans. Dontae Johnson was the first defensive back off the bench when the team switched to the nickel. However, this past week, Keith Reaser replaced Wright in the starting lineup, and Kenneth Acker replaced Johnson in the nickel. They handled that work all week and then in the preseason game against the Cowboys.
After the game, Tomsula was asked about the depth chart, and why Reaser was in the lineup over Wright.
"Well, that's why I tried to temper it from the beginning. That's going to keep changing. We're going to keep changing things around there and we're sorting through some things. We feel like we have some talented guys back there. Some youth, I know there's youth, but really like the way they're coming in. And [49ers secondary coach] Tim Lewis, just the way he's with that group and the way that whole thing's coming together and the coaching and the teaching, but also the players and the way they're responding to it is really good. All we're doing is trying to take a look and clarify some decisions."
This will be the big thing to track during practice this week. Does Shareece Wright move back into the starting lineup, or do we see more of Keith Reaser? Or does mysterious third option get some run opposite Tramaine Brock? The follow-up then is who comes on in the nickel? Jimmie Ward was back at team drills last week, but was participating primarily at safety. The 49ers return to practice on Tuesday, and then have a pair of joint practices in Denver with the Broncos on Wednesday and Thursday, so we'll learn a bit more at that point.
Suffice to say, this week could tell us a lot about the cornerback depth chart. If the starter is either Reaser or Wright, we might be able to infer that one is the starter. If it's a third person, all bets are off!