SANTA CLARA — The Niners’ cornerbacks stood out at Friday’s practice.
Tarell Brown beat Randy Moss both times he faced him in one-on-one drills. Brown also broke up two Alex Smith passes intended for Mario Manningham – one in a red zone seven-on-seven drill and the other at the very end of practice. Smith tried to throw a quick pass to Manningham but Brown tipped it out of the receiver’s hands and Dashon Goldson intercepted the pass.
Alex Smith threw a jump ball in the end zone to Randy Moss, but Chris Culliver out-jumped the legendary receiver and batted the ball to the ground. A few minutes later, Culliver picked off Scott Tolzien and ran for a touchdown.
Cornerback Tramaine Brock played well, too. He made two very strong pass breakups, raking the ball out of receivers’ hands. He did it once against Konrad Reuland and another time against Mario Manningham at the goal line to prevent a touchdown. As you may remember, Brock was the Niners’ No. 3 cornerback coming out of training camp last season; he intercepted two passes in the first two games but he had hand surgery and we didn’t see him much until the NFC Championship Game when he had to play for the concussed Tarell Brown, and he gave up a touchdown to Manningham. Brock got his redemption today. He looks stronger and faster and is the frontrunner for the team’s No. 4 cornerback spot behind Carlos Rogers, Brown and Culliver.
Running back Anthony Dixon, who’s fighting for a roster spot, had his best day of practice. He ran tough and picked up chunks of yards in a 10-play sequence of live hitting. After one run, Harbaugh slapped Dixon on the shoulder pads and yelled, “I like the way you’re running A.D.!”