D.J. Reed

49ers' Jason Verrett taking it 'day by day' waiting to make season debut

49ers' Jason Verrett taking it 'day by day' waiting to make season debut

SANTA CLARA -- When 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett has been healthy, he has been a Pro Bowl-caliber NFL cornerback.

After missing the preseason with an ankle injury, Verrett was listed as questionable on the 49ers’ injury report for Week 1. He did not appear on the injury report leading up to Week 2.

Yet, Verrett is still waiting to make his debut with the 49ers, with whom he signed a one-year contract in the offseason. He was declared one of the team’s seven inactive players for both of the 49ers' first two games. The decisions on which players are inactive are announced 90 minutes before kickoff.

“Yeah, it’s very difficult when it’s like that,” said Verrett, 28, a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2014. “But at the same time, I’m a pro. I take it for what it is, and control what I can control and just try to move forward with it.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers did not seriously consider playing him in the first two games as he was returning from the ankle injury.

“I know he really wanted to get out there last week, but we tried to play it smart with him,” Shanahan said. “He has a better chance to get out there this week. That’s something we will discuss. It doesn’t all have to do with him. It’ll have to do with the rest of the roster and how we plan on attacking these guys.”

The 49ers play their regular-season home opener on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Levi's Stadium.

Verrett sustained a torn Achilles on the first day of camp last summer with the Chargers and missed the entire 2018 season. A variety of injuries have limited Verrett to just 25 games in six seasons. In 2014, Verrett appeared in a career-high 14 games, and he earned a spot in the Pro Bowl.

This is something new for Verrett to be healthy and not suiting up for games.

“It’s definitely an adjustment for me, not being on the field,” he said. “I’m just taking it by day by day.”

Ahkello Witherspoon has strengthened his hold on the job as the 49ers’ starting right cornerback with veteran Richard Sherman on the left side. Witherspoon and Sherman had interception returns for touchdowns in the 49ers' opener at Tampa Bay.

Verrett has not played any nickel back with the 49ers, but he said he's capable of covering the slot receiver because of his familiarity with the defense.

“I think everything is going to play out how it’s supposed to be,” Verrett said. "I just got to continue taking care of my body and doing what I need to do in practice.

“I feel with how the defense is playing -- they’re playing well -- I feel it’s going to be a time where I’m going to find my way onto the field. I just got to control what I can control ... If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. All I can do is stay prepared week-in and week-out, and when my number is called, be ready to play.”

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The 49ers have entered the first two games of the season with Emmanuel Moseley and D.J. Reed as the backup cornerbacks – due mostly to their contributions on special teams.

Verrett said he is trying to remain focused on putting himself in a position to play his best football when his time comes to step on the field.

When asked if he would consider asking for a trade if he continues to be inactive for games, Verrett told NBC Sports Bay Area, “We’ll see what happens.”

49ers camp report: Kyle Shanahan addresses Jalen Hurd mixing it up

49ers camp report: Kyle Shanahan addresses Jalen Hurd mixing it up

SANTA CLARA – Jalen Hurd does not get hit nearly as much after making the move from running back to wide receiver for his senior season after transferring to Baylor.

But Hurd is going out of his way to seek contact in his first NFL training camp after coming to the 49ers as a third-round draft pick.

The 49ers held their second day of non-padded practice on Sunday. Typically, tempers are more likely to flare when the pads go on. But there were two scuffles on the practice field Sunday, and Hurd was involved in both.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he likes to see his players get physical, aggressive and passionate. But he does not like to see punches exchanged because of the possibility of injuries.

Still, the last thing Shanahan wants is for Hurd to back off.

“I don’t want any of that to change. That’s why we brought him here,” Shanahan said. “But I got to see what happened. If he’s just physical and blocking people, and people are getting upset with that, shame on them.

“But if he’s doing more than he should to his teammates, then I have a problem with that. Luckily, everything’s on tape, so I’ll go watch it and decide and address it.”

Hurd caught a pass from C.J. Beathard during 11-on-11 drills in Sunday’s practice.

Defense wins the day

There was not much down the field for any of the team’s quarterbacks. Jimmy Garoppolo completed five of 12 passes, while Nick Mullens hit on six of nine, and Beathard completed four of eight.

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon intercepted a Garoppolo pass intended for Dante Pettis during a 7-on-7 drill. Afterward, Garoppolo had some words for Pettis about his expectations.

“That’s on me,” Pettis said. “If he throws that ball, he’s trusting me. Worst-case scenario, it’s a broken up pass. That’s something I have to get in my head. If he’s trusting me, then this ball is not going to go to the other team, no matter what. He just told that, ‘Look, I trust you, and you got to break it up for something.' ”

D.J. Reed makes move to corner

Earlier in the offseason, the 49ers switched second-year player Tarvarius Moore from cornerback to safety. He welcomed the move. Fellow second-year player D.J. Reed is making the opposite transition. And it's a move met with his approval, too.

Reed is back at cornerback, where he played at Kansas State, after spending his rookie season at free safety. Shanahan said Reed has a better chance to contribute at cornerback.

“We know he was more comfortable with it,” Shanahan said. “He’s got some versatility. He does some great things in nickel. He did well at safety for us last year.”

Reed’s versatility also gives him a better chance to earn one of the 46 roster spots for regular season games because he can provide depth at every position in the defensive backfield, while also playing special teams.

“When you can run and you’re not scared to hit, you can help at a lot of spots on special teams, also,” Shanahan said.

Joshua Garnett dislocates finger – again

Guard Joshua Garnett, a first-round draft pick in 2016 who missed ample time during his first three NFL seasons, left the practice field before the start of 11-on-11 drills after dislocating a finger on his right hand for the second day in a row.

Garnett went inside to be evaluated. His status for the coming days is not known. The 49ers will practice Monday in pads for the first time in training camp.

On Saturday, Garnett rotated in with the first-team offense while Weston Richburg continues to rehab from surgery on his left knee and quad. Mike Person and Mike Garland took turns at center, while Person and Garnett played right guard. When Richburg returns, Person is expected to start at right guard.

Offensive Play of the Day

Slot receiver Trent Taylor has gotten off to a good start at training camp, and his best play Sunday came when he beat nickel back K’Waun Williams off the line and caught a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo on a slant pattern. After getting past Williams and splitting the secondary, Taylor took in the biggest gain of the day.

Defensive Plays of the Day

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman said he no longer feels pain in his surgically repaired left Achilles after struggling for much of last year. His ability to close was on display when he followed receiver Jordan Matthews across the field and made a diving break-up of a Jimmy Garoppolo across the middle.

This ‘n’ That

-- After getting beaten three times by rookie defensive end Nick Bosa on Saturday, six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley said he felt more like his old self on Sunday. Staley said he felt rusty on Saturday with his hand usage.

-- Bosa and DeForest Buckner worked together during two-man, head-to-head pass-rush drill. Bosa and Buckner showed they still have to get to know each other, as they collided violently while going up left guard Laken Tomlinson and Staley.

-- Running back Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida looked explosive during the run drills. Coleman, however, coughed up the ball down the field when Fred Warner stripped him of the ball and Malcolm Smith recovered.

-- Edge rusher Ronald Blair was in tight coverage on the right side against rookie right end Tyree Mayfield, and Mullens’ pass hit Blair in the back as he ran with Mayfield.

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-- During 11-on-11 drills, Arik Armstead, Buckner, Damontre Moore, Kentavius Street broke through for would-be sacks.

-- Goodwin dropped a well-thrown 20-yard pass from Garoppolo with Sherman in coverage. Earlier in practice, Goodwin caught one of the deeper passes of the day on a 20-yard out pattern.

Next up

The 49ers return to practice Monday at 10 a.m. in Santa Clara. The 49ers are scheduled to practice in pads for the first time since last season.

How D.J. Reed's homecoming reconnected him with former high school alum

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AP

How D.J. Reed's homecoming reconnected him with former high school alum

High School homecomings usually happen in the fall when the leaves are turning orange and football season is in full swing. For D.J. Reed, 22, a special one came in April.

Reed, a second-year 49ers defensive back had a touching homecoming and reunion with fellow Independence High alum Tyler Schilhabel.

“It was great to be able to see each other after that long gap,” Schilhabel said. “Having him speak to the entire student body was awesome. I definitely want to have him back to talk to the football team one-on-one.”  

Schilhabel spoke very highly of Reed’s message which is something that he has tried to exemplify and share with his team as well. 

“He told them to not let other people determine their worth,” Schilhabel said. “You have to determine your own worth and what you’re capable of doing. Don’t let it stop you from reaching your goals.”  

This is not the first time that either of the two Bakersfield products have operated outside the norm. In 2010 during his junior year, Schilhabel was the quarterback of the football team. He was involved in an ATV accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. 

Through his recovery the high school quarterback became acquainted with then Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh, soon after their meeting, became head coach of the 49ers and Schilhabel found himself on the sidelines during a game. 

Flash forward to 2018 when after graduating from Utah, Schilhabel was named head coach of the Independence High football team where Reed also excelled. 

Reed’s path to the NFL has also been unconventional. After he red-shirted his first season at Fresno State, he chose to transfer to Cerritos College to go the junior college route. He played well enough to get the chance to show what he could do at Kansas State, where he finished his college career. 

The 49ers selected Reed in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. He finished his first season playing in 15 games primarily as a kick returner, but was also on the field with the defense towards the end of the year. 

Reed returned 11 kickoffs for 332 yards giving him an average of 30.2 yards per return. On defense he tallied one quarterback sack, one forced fumble and 41 total tackles, 30 of which were solo. 

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Schihabel explained that Reed’s mentality will serve him well in his career. He described his positive attitude and constant smile. He also is very aware of Reed being his toughest critic, which the defensive back explained to NBC Sports Bay Area after a difficult practice late in 2018.  

“He’s a very self-motivated person,” Schilhabel said. “For where he’s at now, it’s pretty evident. That’s the best thing about him. He’s never been satisfied with what he’s done. I think that’s something that he’s carried with him for a long time.”