Healthy Verrett one of few bright spots on 49ers defence

Healthy Verrett one of few bright spots on 49ers defence

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers have been so decimated by injuries at cornerback that they have been forced to start a different duo outside in every game this season.

The one surprise has been that the most reliable option so far in the secondary has been Jason Verrett.

While players like Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley, Ahkello Witherspoon and Dontae Johnson have been sidelined by injuries, it has been the oft-injured Verrett who has played the most at cornerback for San Francisco after ending his season on injured reserve in five of his first six years in the NFL.

“He’s gotten better every single day,” defensive co-ordinator Robert Saleh said Thursday. “He’s got such a great mindset to him. There’s a reason why he was a (Pro Bowler) in his earlier years before all the injury luck hit him, but his film study, his practice habits, his attention to detail, all of it is fantastic.”

Verrett is slated to make his fourth straight start of the season, a feat he had only accomplished previously in 2015-16.

Verrett’s injury history is a long one since he entered the league as a first-round pick by the Chargers in 2014. He missed eight games with a torn labrum as a rookie, tore his ACL four games into the 2016 season, went down with a season-ending knee injury in the 2017 opener and then tore his Achilles tendon on the first day of training camp in 2018.

He left the Chargers after that season and signed with the 49ers last season, when he played just four snaps before going on season-ending injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Verrett kept getting chances because the one year he was healthy in 2015 he had three interceptions, 12 passes defenced and made the Pro Bowl.

By the time he got the start for San Francisco in Week 3, he had played in only 26 of the 98 games he was eligible for since entering the league. That’s one reason his teammates were so happy to see him back on the field.

“They’ve seen what it was like for me on my worst days,” Verrett said. “They’ve seen me on the sideline while they were on the road to the Super Bowl. It was definitely bittersweet for me watching that. Happy for them, but bittersweet just because of the competitor that I am, always wanting to be out on the field and flying around with those guys.”

Even a healthy Verrett hasn’t been enough to overcome the problems in the secondary that reached a breaking point last week. Sherman, Moseley, Johnson and slot cornerback K’Waun Williams were out and Witherspoon was only supposed to play in an emergency because of a hamstring injury.

Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick picked on former practice squad player Brian Allen from the start, completing five passes for 124 yards and drawing two penalties before the Niners finally made a change when Allen was beaten for a touchdown on the fourth drive.

Witherspoon came in after that and made it through the game healthy. Now San Francisco should have Witherspoon, Moseley and Verrett available for Sunday night’s game against the Rams, while Sherman still tries to work his way back from injured reserve with a calf injury.

Saleh believes that will help his defence get back to form after allowing 43 points in last week’s loss to the Dolphins.

“Every once in a while even the greatest ones get punched in the mouth, and I still believe that this is a top 10 defensive unit,” Saleh said. “Top five if we’re on our stuff and it doesn’t change on who’s on the football field. We’re a fantastic group. It’s got a fantastic mindset and one game doesn’t define what I think is an unbelievable defensive unit.”

NOTES: S Marcell Harris (ankle) and RB Jeffery Wilson (calf) missed practice with new injuries. … LB Kwon Alexander (ankle) and Johnson (groin) remain sidelined.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press

NFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

Most Read