San Francisco 49ers: Impact Cornerback Perrish Cox Cleared to Play All 16 Games

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San Francisco 49ers: Impact Cornerback Perrish Cox Cleared to Play All 16 Games
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San Francisco 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox has made a big name for himself in training camp, and he's just been cleared to play the entire season for the team.

According to the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows:

This is great news for Cox and for the 49ers

Cox has been making strides this summer to overtake Chris Culliver on the 49ers depth chart, and this latest piece of news adds fuel to the fire. He'll be ready to play in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers—the first of many games the 49ers play in 2012 that will require four excellent cornerbacks. 

Culliver isn't looking quite as natural and smooth as Cox. From what I can tell, and from what many of the 49ers beat writers have been posting, Cox is going to become a vital chess piece in Vic Fangio's scheme. 

According to Barrows' report, Fangio says of Cox:

We like Perrish. We've got him playing nickel and corner, which are two different positions. There's no carry over from one to the other, from an assignment and technique standpoint. And he's done well learning both those positions and we're very happy to have him. He's given us added depth and he's going to push for added playing time if he continues the work that he's showing so far.

The 49ers took a chance on Cox earlier this year, knowing there was a risk he'd miss some time due to a suspension. For my part, the only thing I could surmise was that Trent Baalke saw something on tape that made him salivate. The 49ers don't typically take on players with baggage. 

Then, I did my own homework. 

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Back in 2010, Cox defended 14 passes and intercepted one pass. That indicates that Cox has incredible ball skills, as there were only three cornerbacks in 2010 to defend more passes, according to Pro Football Focus

We all saw how instinctively he plays the position last week in the team's preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings. His shoe-string interception was glorious.

Will the 49ers match their 2011 mark of 38 turnovers on defense?

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And now I'm thinking. I've been skeptical all offseason long that the 49ers could possibly match their NFL-leading turnover total of 38. Now, I'm actually thinking they have the ability to become even deadlier in this area in 2012. 

After all, it's not like Culliver is tanking out there. He's having a good camp, too, and all indications point to him being better this year than he was last year (h/t's Mike Sando).  

Having Cox on the roster and available for the entire season is going to make the 49ers defensive unit into the premier unit in the NFL. He and Culliver are good enough to be the two starting cornerbacks on many teams around the league. 

NFL offenses, beware. The 49ers defense is prepped for a monster year. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78

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