SANTA CLARA -- Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio made it official on Tuesday.
Rookie Eric Reid will be the 49ers' starting free safety of Sept. 8 open the regular season against the Green Bay Packers at Candlestick Park.
"He's gotten better and better each and every day," Fangio said "He's had his potholes in there when he's had some mistakes. But overall, he's just been steady and growing into the position, which has allowed his ability to come through more and more. He's tackled well in the games, which is important for us. We lost a really good tackler."
Reid will start in place of Dashon Goldson, a starter the previous four seasons. Goldson signed a lucrative contract in the offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers moved up 13 spots in the first round of the draft to select Reid with the No. 18 overall pick. Reid will be in the starting lineup against Aaron Rodgers for the first game of his rookie season.
"It's always been a dream of mine," Reid said. "Obviously, everybody in this locker room would say the same thing. For me, it's about getting better every day. I try to set a goal for that day, to get better at something or fix something I messed up on yesterday. I think that makes me better as a player."
Reid said he has not started looking ahead to facing the Packers' explosive offense.
Veteran Donte Whitner, the team's starter at strong safety, has helped groom Reid. There have been numerous times when Whitner has entrusted Reid with making all the calls in the defensive backfield. Whitner said Reid has a good grasp of the defense.
"He's a guy who in high school and college has always been a good student and a student of the game," Whitner said.
Said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, "He picked up the system fast and played well in games. It's been a nice progression, a nice process, for him."