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Chris Culliver was beaten by Jacoby Jones for a critical touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Chris Culliver is one of the most interesting players on the 49ers' roster. He probably has more physical talent and athleticism than any of the other defensive backs on the team.
Culliver has tremendous upside as a player, but there are several issues that have held him back. He must improve on these areas, if he is to reach his full potential.
Culliver has decent speed and is a big-hitter. He also has the ability to be a good cover-corner.
The areas that Culliver struggles with all have to do with discipline, or lack of it. Culliver is often over-aggressive, which causes him to get beat on double moves and makes him susceptible to pass interference penalties, as he races to catch up to his man.
This overly aggressive nature of play also results in personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Culliver's incessant trash talking is also something that gets out of control. It looks terrible when Culliver is beaten for a big play, then jumps up into the face of the receiver with his trash talk.
A classic example of this was in the Super Bowl. Culliver allowed a 31-yard first-down reception to Anquan Boldin that ultimately led to a Baltimore touchdown. Following the catch, Culliver jumped into the face of Boldin, which showed his immaturity.
Culliver also tried to throw teammate Donte Whitner under the bus by blaming him for the long touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones late in the second quarter of the Super Bowl. He told the media that it was Whitner that blew the coverage.
Whitner disputed this allegation, explained exactly what coverage the 49ers were in and what each player's responsibilities were. It was clear that Culliver was in the wrong and his attempt to blame Whitner could also cause him to lose the respect of his teammates.
To top this off, Culliver also must stop making stupid statements in the media about subjects outside of football. In the past few months, Culliver has been on the hot seat for his homophobic comments prior to the Super Bowl and also more recently, his comments disparaging women.
Culliver has a world of talent, but must be smarter both on and off the field. He needs to develop much more discipline and professionalism.
At this point, Culliver is at a crossroads. If he becomes a more disciplined individual, he has a chance to be an outstanding player. If, on the other hand, Culliver continues on the path he's been on recently, he will not come close to reaching his full potential.