5 underperforming 49ers who must play better after Week 6 bye

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Josh Norman, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Josh Norman (26) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: 49ers Cornerback Josh Norman

Precisely why the 49ers are insistent on playing cornerback Josh Norman over the solidly performing fifth-round rookie, Deommodore Lenoir, is a bit of a head-scratcher. True, having a veteran presence within the secondary is never a bad idea, and the Niners are shorthanded at the position anyway.

Since being grabbed as a free agent just as the regular season started, though, Norman hasn’t exactly shown himself to be a valuable commodity to San Francisco’s defense.

Over three games played this season, all starts, Norman has surrendered six catches on 10 targets for a total of 49 yards and two touchdowns. Opposing quarterbacks are posting a 112.1 passer rating when targeting him in coverage, too, and his Pro Football Focus coverage grade is an unimpressive 47.5 with three accepted penalties against him.

Related Story: Josh Norman proving not to be the answer at cornerback

Despite the struggles, it appears the 49ers are intent to leave Norman in as a starter despite Lenoir’s presence instead of relegating the 33 year old to primary backup duties, where he should probably be at this stage of his career.

Considering this is the case, Norman has to showcase that improvement in order to help ensure the Niners secondary doesn’t remain a liability down the stretch.