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A relatively healthy defense is helping the 49ers come together

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We are starting to see the defense show what it can do.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers roster has been ravaged by injuries this season. The team has 20 players on injured reserve, and has since returned Ronald Blair and Tank Carradine from IR. It’s been a big problem for both sides of the ball.

That being said, health is in some ways a strength right now for the 49ers defense. The injury report is down to three people, with Eric Reid and Adrian Colbert the defensive players on the practice participation report. Reid was a full participant on Wednesday with a knee injury, while Colbert was limited with his recovering thumb fracture. Other than that, everybody else is practicing in full.

While the unit is missing several starters, we have seen players further down the depth chart emerge. Most notably, Adrian Colbert and Ahkello Witherspoon have emerged as starters, and Solomon Thomas moved along quickly with the injuries along the defensive line.

On Thursday, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh acknowledged that getting healthy has allowed them to get a little more consistency in their personnel groupings. Even though this is not the ideal lineup from what we expected Week 1, the talent is gelling. If this unit can remain relatively healthy these final four weeks, I don’t see why we can’t see further improvement in consistency. We’ve seen some of the good this unit has done, just not on a sufficiently consistent basis. If we see some consistency in who is out on the field, that will spill over into the performance we see on the field.