An offseason trip to Cape Town, South Africa to visit his wife’s family helped clear Eric Reid’s mind. Stepping away from football and recharging the batteries is a vital part of the months following each season.
Now back at the SAP Performance Facility, the San Francisco 49ers safety is ready to leave last year’s disappointing 5-11 record in the rearview mirror.
“I try to take every moment, whether it’s successful or disappointing, and learn from it,” Reid recently told 49ers.com. “There was a lot to learn from last year. I tried to reflect on how I played and tried to find those plays where I feel like I could have helped the team more.
“Then you have to leave the past in the past. It’s over with, and I’m excited for the fresh start.”
That new beginning comes with Chip Kelly and San Francisco's revamped coaching staff. Both Kelly and defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil reached out to Reid to introduce themselves. That positive first impression has lasted into the first month of the team’s offseason program.
Reid repeatedly expressed his excitement with the direction the franchise is heading.
“They’re very organized,” he said of the coaching staff. “They’ve been in this system, and they’re very confident in their system. They know exactly how they want things to be done. They know exactly what terminology they want to use. And it makes sense. That’s the biggest thing. The calls that they have, and the way they run the defense makes a lot of sense.
“That’s what I’m excited about because I’m a logical guy. I like to think through things. If I can understand it, I can play better in it.”
Reid tallied 66 tackles, a forced fumble and his first career sack in 2015 – a Week 15 takedown of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron. The one-time Pro Bowler tabbed one area in which he’d like to improve going into his fourth NFL campaign.
“I want to focus a lot more on man-to-man coverage,” Reid explained. “That’s something where I think I can help the team. I look forward to getting those reps in camp and having that translate into the season.”
Outside of the rookies who just joined the roster, the faces on the 49ers defense are largely the same as last year. That was something that didn’t go unnoticed to Reid.
“That speaks to the confidence that they have in the players,” he said. “That’s what I’m excited about. I think the defense is going to make plays this year.”
Reid and the rest of his teammates are in the thick of Phase 2 of Organized Team Activities. Despite being voluntary, nearly every player has been in attendance in order to learn the playbook and get in shape for 2016.
"Everybody is giving it their all," Reid said. "When you see guys working hard, it pushes you to work that much harder. We’re laying a good foundation.”
Joe Fann | 49ers.com | May 10, 2016