When 49ers Darkis Denard was released on MondayIt was a rather shocking move, given the veteran cornerback who was lined up with the first team at the nickel back.
After the team’s joint training in Minnesota with the Vikings on Wednesday, coach Kyle Shanahan provided some clarity on what came up in the decision with a straight answer.
“We didn’t think he’d get that spot,” Shanahan told reporters. “Whether he’s with those or not, nobody’s really slotted that way, except for the depth charts we have to give you before the start of the season.
“So we wanted to give him chances, being a vet and with younger guys coming in, but we had to see enough where we felt the guys would have a chance, so we want to give them some reps.”
Shanahan noted that Denard was “cool” last season when he joined the 49ers in a do-or-die match in Week 18 against the Los Angeles Rams. Dennard played a pivotal role in helping San Francisco grab a comma.
But after Sam Womack’s impressive pre-season appearance against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, the rookie got Shanahan’s vote of confidence going forward.
“… [Dennard] Shanahan said Wednesday. “And we’ll see how these guys do and if it doesn’t work out, I hope one day [he] can come back. “
Womack had two interceptions in the 49ers’ 28-21 win over the Packers and now he’s a key player in the team’s nickel back. K’Waun Williams previously held the position and signed with the Denver Broncos this off season.
“Yeah, Womack. I think everyone saw him during the match and he did a really good job,” Shanahan said. “He did a decent job in practice as well. We have some security elements that we can mix in there as well, so there’s still some competition. But yeah, we’ve been happy with what it has been up to so far.”
Safeties Dontae Johnson and Tarvarius Moore had hole time against Green Bay, and uncut free agent Qwantrezz Knight, listed behind Womack in the nickel depth chart, also performed well in the second half of the game.
With a slew of experienced defenders around him and his proven ability, San Francisco is clearly expecting Womack to hold himself as a high school rookie from the 49ers after Dennard’s firing.
Together with Dennard, the 49ers He also cut the defensive intervention of Robert Nekimdiclinebacker Josh Hockett, wide receiver Keesan Johnson and defensive line Tomasi Luleli in order to reach the maximum roster of 85 players by Tuesday’s deadline.
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