49ers DB Ahkello Witherspoon ‘very excited' to face Odell Beckham Jr.


SANTA CLARA — After a tough start to his sophomore season, 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon has increasingly improved his game.

On Monday Night Football against the Giants, he faces his toughest competition yet in Odell Beckham Jr.

The 49ers secondary has had their challenges in the first half of the season. They gave up 347 passing yards to Matt Stafford and the Lions and 425 passing yards to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. When asked the reason for these struggles, Witherspoon explained that it was not the scheme or a lack of talent. 

“We were really just having lapses in coverage,” Witherspoon said. “When you do that, there’s just a hole open and it’s not really on anybody specifically. Just as a group, we all have to be on the details and when one person lapses, you see big plays, you see guys wide open. 

“That’s really what our goal is, to come in and be consistent with what our approach is, and contest every single throw. Don’t give them anything easy.” 

Speaking on his own game specifically, Witherspoon broke down his recent performance.

“Just my focus, and just trying to reshape my game,” Witherspoon said. "Adding more to it, being more aggressive at the line, being heavy on receivers. It’s all just stuff I’ve been learning and needing to implement into my game. It’s just happening with time.” 

In their 34-3 win over the Raiders, the secondary as a whole held the Raiders receivers to 179 passing yards. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman attributed it to the group playing more sound football. Witherspoon agreed.

“Just being on our assignments,” Witherspoon said. “That’s first and foremost, just being on the details. Giving yourself a chance to make a play by your alignment and by communication. 

“I think we did a good job of that last week. Just really improving on communication and trusting the guy next to you.” 

Witherspoon has a sizable challenge ahead of him in his matchup facing Beckham, and he's energized to go against one of the best.

“Very excited,” Witherspoon said. “To be the best, you have to beat the best. It’s a great opportunity, I’m excited."

Witherspoon will start watching film on Beckham and the Giants’ offense this week, but he doesn’t need that to have an idea of what he’s up against. 

“I watch SportsCenter,” Witherspoon said. “I’m on Twitter. I think the guy’s is talented. He has a great skill set. Very versatile at the receiver position. I’m really excited for the matchup.” 

Beckham is known for being emotional in the heat of the moment. Witherspoon says his focus will be on the game. 

“I’m going to play my game as well,” Witherspoon said, “which is very consistent, tunnel vision. I try not to get involved in any emotions or the antics because I think it takes away from the focus of the game. 

“It’s critical how needed your attention is towards the game. I’m just going to do that. However he does it, is his approach as well. I’m just really going to go out and try to play the game at a high level.” 

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