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49ers-Broncos recap: 3 winners, 2 losers among defensive starters

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The 49ers first team defense had one bad series, and two good series against the Denver Broncos. We look at some positives and negatives from the performances.

Last night, we took a look at some of the winners and losers among the San Francisco 49ers offensive starters. Today, I thought we’d move to the other side of the ball and look at the defensive starters. The 49ers defensive 1s got in approximately 22 snaps, facing most of the Broncos offensive 1s during that stretch. Here are a couple winners and losers among the 49ers starting defense.

Winners

Chris Davis: He gave up a pass that converted a first down, but he also had a pass break-up and a third down stop with a nice close for a tackle, and he had an interception for the taking. He is continuing to build his case to be the starting nickel back

Eric Reid: He’s not exactly competing for a job, but the pick-six still gets him into the winner column. He might have a starting job sewn up, but he is also looking to earn a big extension before his option year kicks in next season. In his first game (he missed last week due to his newborn), he got off to a strong start.

Ronald Blair: I’m adding him after the fact. Blair did not start with the 49ers 1s, but he got work with them after the first series. He had one tackle, and some solid moments. The key is getting him reps, and he seems to be working his way into a useful role.

Losers

Gerald Hodges: He got the start next to NaVorro Bowman, and the rotation continued with each series. Hodges was on for the first drive, in which the Broncos scored on a 19-yard C.J. Anderson run. Hodges didn’t have an awful game, but it wasn’t a great drive for him.

Tony Jerod-Eddie: It’s not exactly fair to include him given the injury, but with the depth on the defensive line, it’s pertinent. TJE got a start because Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner both sat out the game. He played eight snaps before leaving with a chest injury. It doesn’t seem like a serious injury, but in a competition for opportunities, it does not help him. I think he likely still makes the roster, but it is something to keep an eye on.