We have seen this type of safety before last year in Dashon Goldson. A hard-hitting safety that likes to lower his head that punishes receivers, forces fumbles and gets those timely interceptions. Goldson left the Niners for the Buccaneers in free agency and the 49ers got a better version of him in the draft in Eric Reid except he can actually cover receivers.
Reid is the same hard-hitting safety as Goldson except for the fact that he is injury-prone. In Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Carolina Panthers, Reid sustained his second concussion of the season while trying to tackle Panthers fullback, Mike Tolbert. It was a terrifying sight for all 49er fans as Reid laid motionless on the field for a few minutes and had to come out of the game. Reid sustained his first concussion in Week 2 against Sidney Rice and the Seattle Seahawks but played the prior week against the Colts.
Reid is questionable for Sunday’s game against the vaunted New Orleans Saints, led by All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees. It would be a major blow to the 49ers secondary if Reid can not play on Sunday, especially against the high-powered offense of the Saints. It was already going to be a tough match-up for the 49ers with the rookie phenom and without Reid, it could be outright impossible.
If Reid wants to continue to play in this league at a high level, he must change his style of play and use more caution. This may be tough for him since his game relies so much on intimidation and bone-crushing hits. If he does use more caution, he may lose that aggressiveness that makes him such a great player. He needs to find that balance between being aggressive and not being too reckless by wrapping up more and not leading with the crown of his helmet on receivers in the open field. If he does not find that balance, he will be hurting himself and the 49ers in the future.
Reid is too good and valuable for the 49ers to lose for an extended period of time. Reid is fourth on the team in tackles and second in interceptions with three in his rookie season. He is off to a great start to his career but if he doesn’t play with a little more caution, his career may be shortened. Let’s hope that Reid can find that balance, continuing to strive in this stout defense and becomes one of the best safeties in the NFL.
Follow me on Twitter: Michael Shultz @shultzreport