49ers depth chart: 4 players who must shoulder bigger loads in wake of injuries
By Peter Panacy
No. 3: 49ers Cornerback Josh Norman
In hindsight, it’s certainly a bonus San Francisco inked veteran cornerback Josh Norman just days before Jason Verrett’s injury.
Norman, 33 years old, was inactive for Week 1, but that was expected in the wake of him joining the team so late in the process. Whatever acclimation period Norman needs to go through to get up to speed is certainly going to be expedited now.
The presence of Deommodore Lenoir will help, but asking him and Ambry Thomas to start on the boundary would be a tall order, even if both corners were capable of filling in as first-teamers. Having a veteran patrol at least a portion of the secondary would assist other primarily younger defensive backs like Lenoir and Thomas as they look to acclimate.
If there is a bonus to having an up-and-coming rookie opposite an older veteran, it could potentially be there’ll be no preferred target for opposing quarterbacks. Case in point last year when Emmanuel Moseley saw plenty of passes thrown in his direction, as signal-callers looked to avoid Verrett.
Maybe the distribution winds up being a good thing for the 49ers defense. Or maybe it’s a liability.
Either way, Norman has to hold up his end of the responsibilities, and those aren’t likely to go away anytime soon.