Editor's note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Washington matchups to watch Monday, 5:40 p.m., at FedEx Field
49ers CB Tramaine Brock vs. Redskins WR Pierre Garcon
Tale of the tape
Brock (26): 5 foot 10, 197 pounds, fourth season, Belhaven
Garcon (88): 6 foot, 212 pounds, sixth season, Mount Union
Tramaine Brock will make his first professional start Monday night as one of the 49ers’ top two cornerbacks. And it’s a role the 49ers envision him maintaining long beyond this game.
Brock signed a four-year, $16 million extension on Friday, which locks him in as a starter for the 2014 season. And if he plays well while taking over for Tarell Brown, it’s a good bet Brock will remain in the lineup this season even if Brown is able to return from an indefinite absence due to an injury to his ribs.
Brock has been ultra-productive with six interceptions in his nine career games as the 49ers’ third cornerback. His first assignment as a true starter will include going against Washington’s Pierre Garcon, who is Robert Griffin’s preferred target in the passing game.
Garcon leads Washington with 67 receptions for 871 yards and three touchdowns.
Brock has been a part-time player throughout his first four NFL seasons with the 49ers. Now, he knows he will not be coming off the field as long as the 49ers are on defense.
"I think the change comes in that he went from not playing to being in the nickel, which is a part-time job where you’re in and out and you usually get a break of at least two or three plays or longer depending on the game you’re in," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "And now the change comes, it’s amped up another level. He’s in there every play.
"He’s just got to be ready to play every play not knowing he’s got built in breaks when we’re in base like he had for the first however many games he was playing. There is a change, but it’s just got to be a mental adjustment for him.”
Veteran Eric Wright will also be tested on Monday. When the 49ers employ their nickel defense, Wright will take over the role that Brock previously held. Wright made his 49ers debut in the 49ers’ 23-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He expected to play only a handful of downs in his debut. But after Brown’s injury, Wright was pressed into significant action, playing 31 snaps in the game.