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Donte Whitner explains what change 49ers need to make at cornerback

© Mark J. Rebilas | 2021 Jan 3

The 49ers’ issues at cornerback somehow got worse on Monday.

Kyle Shanahan announced that top corner Emmanuel Moseley will be out ‘several weeks’ with a high ankle sprain sustained in Sunday’s heartbreaking loss in Seattle.

That leaves San Francisco with Josh Norman, Dontae Johnson, and rookies Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenior as their only cornerbacks heading into the stretch run.

It’s unclear who will get the starting nods on Sunday vs. the Bengals, but according to former 49ers DB Donte Whitner, he knows who should get the nod when Moseley returns.

“I think Dontae Johnson should be the starter opposite Moseley, if he plays,” Whitner said on Papa & Lund Tuesday.

“Every time he comes in the game he’s viable. He doesn’t give up the big play. He’s interchangeable, he can move inside and play the nickel, he can move outside, but he doesn’t give up the balls that Josh Norman is giving up.”

Norman has been called for defensive pass interference five times this season (three accepted) tied for the most among all defensive players. Norman is the 110th ranked cornerback out of 118 this season by Pro Football Focus.

“Josh Norman is a shell of himself right now and that’s why they are attacking him on the weekly,” Whitner continued. “It’s not the pass interference, it’s bad technique. It’s bad eyes, it’s grabbing, it’s holding onto guys. It’s the penalties. You’re a veteran. You are supposed to add a veteran presence and be a compliment to the guys out there. Not a detriment to the team.

“If they are healthy, if Emmanuel Moseley is healthy, I think Dontae Johnson deserves a chance to start.”

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