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Matt Maiocco gives one reason to be optimistic about 49ers’ CB situation

© Joe Nicholson | 2021 Dec 5

According to the eye test the cornerback position is the weakest area of the 49ers roster, but do the numbers tell a different story?

San Francisco’s pass defense is ranked as the third best in the NFL by yards allowed, a somewhat shocking number considering who they’ve trotted out at DB this season. Keep in mind that for much of Sunday’s game the 49ers were throwing Josh Norman and Dontae Johnson at DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

Of course, this stat doesn’t account for one huge variable, and that’s the amount of defensive pass interference penalties San Francisco has been called for due to poor coverage. The 49ers have lost 298 yards via their 16 DPI calls this year, both league highs. However, even if you add that yardage to the 49ers pass defense total, they would still be ranked 11th best in the league.

It’s for this reason that Matt Maiocco believes 49ers fans should be slightly less concerned about the corner situation, even with Emmanuel Moseley out for a handful of weeks.

“The second that Jason Verrett went down, we knew there were going to be some issues with the cornerback position,” Maiocco told Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks on Monday. “They did sign Josh Norman even before that, he wasn’t signed to be a starter. When your best cornerback goes down, every team in the league is going to have issues. It’s really difficult to find cornerbacks, and the best cornerbacks one year might be the worst cornerbacks the next year. It’s the most volatile position in the NFL.

“I wasn’t expecting any miracles from the cornerback position. Turns out Emmanuel Moseley has played well, Josh Norman has been freaking all over the map as far as he’s played, with all the penalties, but he punches the ball out, he gives up a lot of completions but generally they are in front of him.

“You look at the stats, even in yesterday’s game, the 49ers pass defense was pretty darn good. It’s all tied to together. The pass rush, it’s a lot of different things. I guess my point is when you look at the stats and you see the 49ers are among the best teams in the league as far as yards allowed per game, I just kind of look at it and wasn’t expecting this defense to be the miracle workers, but I was actually expecting it to be a hell of a lot worse than it is.

“They are doing a lot of things right defensively. DK Metcalf and Tyer Lockett combined for close to 130 yards [128] between them. I might have expected each of them to have 130 yards receiving against the 49ers defense the way the defensive backfield is situated.

“I surprised with the cornerback situation, it’s not a heck of a lot worse than it is.”

Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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