SANTA CLARA – Cornerback Tramaine Brock has the hot hand.
Veteran Nnamdi Asomugha, inactive for the past two weeks due to a right knee injury, will not get his old job back when he is healthy, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh intimated on Monday.
Harbaugh said Brock has earned the right to remain as the team’s No. 3 cornerback, the role in which Asomugha opened the season.
“Really pleased with the way Tramaine is ascending,” Harbaugh said one day after the 49ers' 34-3 victory over the Houston Texans. “When you play like that, you’re going to continue to play. So I’m sure there will be more opportunity for him. So we’re excited about that.”
Brock, a fourth-year pro from Belhaven, has played well in his two games since taking over as the third cornerback.
Brock batted away a deep Sam Bradford pass on Sept. 26 intended for St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brian Quick that Donte Whitner intercepted. On Sunday, Brock had an 18-yard interception return against Texans quarterback Matt Schaub to give the 49ers a 7-0 lead just 90 seconds into the game.
He later added a second interception. Brock also made a nice play on a deep pass intended for rookie speedster DeAndre Hopkins, on which Hopkins was called for offensive pass interference.
In 2011, Brock opened the season as the No. 3 cornerback. He recorded interceptions in his first two games. He was sidelined with a hand injury, allowing Chris Culliver to take his role. Culliver remained as the third corner until he sustained a season-ending torn ACL this summer in training camp.