Hearing Robert Saleh wants his defense to play with “extreme violence” should get any player riled up for the season. That’s the type of attitude the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator wants to instill into his group.
As the team concluded their final practices of the offseason program, the players look to be buying into what Saleh is selling – including veteran safety
“I don’t do a lot of talking. I let my shoulder pads talk,” Reid said. “For someone else to get a big hit, it will make me want to get a big hit, and it will make the next person want to make a big play. It’s just infectious. To set that type of culture, it’s awesome.”
In Saleh’s “all gas, no brakes” mantra, Reid will take on an aggressive role in his shift from free to strong safety.
“Eric is unbelievable from a mental standpoint,” Saleh said. “He's very smart, able to absorb a lot of information. He's very long, very athletic. He’s strong. He's capable of doing a lot of things down there in the box. I'm excited about Eric.”
In his four seasons with the 49ers, Reid has been an integral piece in the secondary totaling eight interceptions, 32 passes defended, two forced fumbles and 212 tackles. Reid should have ample opportunity to add to those numbers in 2017.
Unlike his previous role playing deep in the field at free safety, Reid will now be lining up near the line of scrimmage and be in the mix on every play.
“I love it,” Reid said. “Being around the ball more, I anticipate making more tackles and hopefully making more plays. I feel like I was made for this position with my body type being a bigger safety. So, I’m excited about this year.”
A torn bicep suffered in Week 11 last year snapped Reid's streak of 57 consecutive games played. Now back to full strength, Reid has been able to fully immerse himself into his new role. In addition to Saleh, the safety has also impressed 49ers quarterback
“You have players that can make plays,” Hoyer said. “Eric Reid is playing that (Seattle Seahawks Safety) Kam Chancellor role really well.”
Reid explained that ever since his time at LSU, the safety positions were always fairly interchangeable. Not so much this year.
“I feel like I’m just using what God has blessed me with more, which is my size, being in the box and in the run game,” Reid added.
Reid's ability to adapt and thrive in his new role will be a huge factor in the overall success of the 49ers defense in 2017.