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How 49ers plan to adjust with uncertainty at cornerback

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Early in training camp, the 49ers had a three-way competition going at right cornerback.

Richard Sherman was locked in as one starter, while Emmanuel Moseley, Jason Verrett and Ahkello Witherspoon were rotating with the first-team defense on the other side.

That could have been read one of two ways: Either, the 49ers felt they had three players capable of starting; or, they simply did not have a clear-cut starter, period.

If the 49ers thought they had some depth as camp opened, that reserve of talent has pretty much disappeared after Week 1 of the regular season.

Richard Sherman is heading to injured reserve, where he will be ineligible for at least the next three games with an apparent calf strain.

And his presumptive fill-in Ahkello Witherspoon has been placed in the concussion protocol, The Athletic's Matt Barrows reported. Witherspoon saw four snaps on defense and 13 on special teams in the 49ers’ season-opening 24-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals,

Verrett did not practice nor play last week with a hamstring injury sustained late in training camp. His immediate status is uncertain.

The 49ers can be expected to promote veteran cornerback Dontae Johnson from the practice squad, as they did for the Week 1 game.

The 49ers could also opt to promote first-year cornerback Tim Harris, if they determine later in the week that his services could be needed. Harris, a seventh-round draft pick in 2019, spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a groin injury.


The 49ers have added former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Brian Allen, agent Steve Caric announced on Twitter. Allen likely is heading to the practice squad.

If the injuries could possibly come at a good time, this is it.

The 49ers’ Week 2 opponent is the New York Jets, whose quarterback, Sam Darnold, had one of the worst passing days in the league in the season-opening weekend.

Darnold completed 21 of 35 attempts for 215 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 27-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He also was sacked three times.

In Week 3, the 49ers face the New York Giants. Their quarterback, Daniel Jones, completed 26 of 41 attempts for 279 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 26-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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The 49ers will not face the kind of threats at receiver over the next two weeks that they went up against with the Cardinals in Week 1. DeAndre Hopkins lit up the 49ers with 14 receptions for 151 yards.

The Jets top pass target is slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who will be matched against 49ers’ nickelback K’Waun Williams most of the game. Crowder had seven catches for 115 yards against the Bills.