SANTA CLARA — This week in the 49ers locker room, their new starting cornerback, Emmanuel Moseley, the man who will guard Odell Beckham Jr. Monday night, refused to say Beckham’s name.
“I watched film on the Browns as a whole group,” Moseley said when asked about Beckham. “They have a good receiving corps.”
No kidding. But what about OBJ? How does it feel to face one of the league’s best receivers during your first career start, Emmanuel? What’s it like to be one of the biggest underdogs in football this week?
“Any competitor enjoys being an underdog,” Moseley said. “You can go out there and prove yourself. I treat every receiver the same. Just have to prepare for him, watch film on him.”
To Moseley, Beckham merely is “him.” Not OBJ. Not a brand. Just a pronoun. An anonymous player who will give Moseley the chance he needs to establish himself, his brand, his nickname: E Man. That’s what the 49ers call Moseley.
E Man replaces Ahkello Witherspoon, who had played exceptionally well this season until he sprained his foot against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Witherspoon will miss at least a month. Last season, Witherspoon guarded Beckham when he was on the New York Giants. Beckham caught two touchdown catches, and the 49ers lost 27-23.
Now, it’s Moseley’s turn to guard Him.
Here are five things to know about the matchup that could determine the winner Monday night.