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SANTA CLARA – The 49ers should have a healthy group of cornerbacks for the first time since the first series of the season opener.
And defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he plans on playing cornerbacks-by-committee, beginning Sunday when the 49ers face the St. Louis Rams at Levi’s Stadium.
Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver opened the season as the starters with Jimmie Ward entering as the nickelback. But Perrish Cox played extremely well in place of Brock, who missed six games with “turf toe.”
Rather than go back to the way they began the season, the 49ers will find playing time for Brock, Cox and Culliver while keeping Ward as the nickelback, Fangio said.
“We’ll mix up the corner position and try to get them all action in there, in and out, and it’ll be different combinations,” Fangio said. “When we play six DBs, they’d be in there, all of them. It looks like Ward will be able to go, so he’ll be the nickel. I think it’ll be different combinations at different times.”
Brock returned to the starting lineup Oct. 19 against the Denver Broncos due to Culliver’s hamstring injury. The 49ers wanted to ease Brock back into the action, but they did not have that luxury due to Culliver’s absence.
“He would’ve played,” Fangio said of Brock, “but I don’t think he would’ve played full time.”