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The San Francisco 49ers have created quite the tandem at starting safety. Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner emerged in 2011 as a hawking, hard-hitting duo capable of limiting even the best offensive pass attacks.
The Niners staff continues to evaluate the safety position, looking for depth. They have been waiting for someone to step up and assert themselves in the backup role. As far as the defense goes, San Francisco has premier depth at defensive line and all the backer positions.
Ricky Jean-Francois, Larry Grant and Parys Haralson are all excellent backups and substitution players.
The 49ers have youth and inexperience across the board when it comes to depth at safety. 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio spoke to the media this week, addressing the competition at backup safety.
Fangio on the depth at safety:
There are some jobs that are up for grabs in the backup area and we'd like to see somebody step forward and make the decisions easy for us. You know, particularly at the safety position, you know we've got [Donte] Whitner and [Dashon] Goldson, but we're looking to see who's our third, fourth and possibly fifth safety. We need for that to clear itself up and hopefully guys will step forward and make it easy. Right now, it hasn't been an easy decision for us.
San Francisco has Trenton Robinson, Colin Jones, Michael Thomas and Darcel McBath competing at the position, and as of now, there is no clear-cut front-runner.
With the NFL's first official cut-down day scheduled in a matter of days, the 49ers need to get a better idea of which players they are going to retain. The easiest way for this to be decided is by an irrefutably solid game day performance by one or two of the competing players.
Clearly, nothing will be handed to these players. Fangio wants to see them earn it, and his bold request in Santa Clara this week should hopefully light a fire under this position group.