49ers' Emmanuel Moseley has Solidified the Cornerback Position
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Towards the end of the regular season, the defense of the San Francisco 49ers started to unravel. They were not the stout unit that we were so accustomed to for the vast majority of the season. One of the reasons the defense fell off was due to the performance of Ahekllo Witherspoon.
Since returning from injury, Witherspoon was not able to replicate his elite performance from the first three games of the season. Opposing offenses would continually attack him, knowing full well he was a liability in coverage. That is what lead the 49ers to bench him for two straight games. Eventually Emmanuel Moseley would get the nod as the starter, who filled in for Witherspoon while he was injured during the regular season.
In his two relief efforts following Witherspoon's benching, Moseley brought immense stability to the defense. It was that stability that the coaching staff of the 49ers saw to give him the role as the starter at right cornerback in the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers. A game that saw the 49ers shutout the Packers for an entire half.
Now that he is the starter going forward, Emmanuel Moseley has solidified the cornerback position for the 49ers.
Against the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional playoff game, the only let ups that the 49ers' defense had was when receiver Stefon Diggs beat Witherspoon on a go-route for the touchdown. That play was what got him benched and allowed Moseley to start for the rest of the game. Once he got into the game, the Vikings' offense could not manage any production in the passing game.
In the NFC championship game, Aaron Rodgers targeted Moseley five times. He allowed three receptions for 34 yards, which hardly made an impact. Moseley would end up making Rodgers pay by reeling in an interception with a minute left in the first half. That turnover set the 49ers up to extend the lead to 27-0 going into the half and essentially sealed the deal for the 49ers.
Much like how Moseley has sealed the deal as the starting cornerback.
Seeing Moseley continue to excel brings into question as to why the 49ers waited so long to pull the plug on Witherspoon. Perhaps they just wanted to see if they could instill confidence in him again. Nevertheless, Moseley is the clear-cut better talent to start opposite of Richard Sherman and outside the slot of K'Waun Williams.
With these three corners at the 49ers' disposal, this defense becomes an impenetrable wall. Even if the pass rush cannot get there quickly, these corners are more than capable of maintaining their sticky coverage.