49ers roster: 4 players who are trending down after loss to Cardinals

Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Josh Norman, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Josh Norman (26) is restrained by NFL side judge Gary Cavaletto (60) against Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries (74) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: 49ers Cornerback Josh Norman

It was pretty clear veteran cornerback Josh Norman was hitting the twilight of his career a year ago during his brief stint with the Buffalo Bills. When the 49ers inked him to a free-agent deal this year, the hope should have been he would serve as little more than a depth piece and a veteran mentor to a primarily young and inexperienced cornerback room.

After nine weeks, though, it’s more than clear Norman isn’t cutting it. He already has a team-high seven penalties accepted against him, and easily the worst one of the year for him was on full display in Week 9 when he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct just before halftime, which gave Arizona a fresh set of downs after failing to convert on a 3rd-and-18 play.

Read More: Josh Norman proving not to be the answer for 49ers at cornerback

The Niners benched Norman for the rest of the game after that, which should be the approach from this point forward, as long as he stays on the roster.

True, San Francisco doesn’t have too many answers elsewhere. But it would be more beneficial in a lost season to play the two rookies, Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir, who at least have the upside of hoping to be contributors in 2022 and beyond.