Training Camp 2023

49ers coaches notice, applaud Thomas' offseason commitment


SANTA CLARA — Cornerback Ambry Thomas realized he did not give himself a chance last year to build on a promising rookie season with the 49ers.

Thomas told NBC Sports Bay Area this week he felt as if he had it all figured out heading into training camp a year ago.

He can now admit how wrong he was.

Thomas tumbled down the depth chart and ended up playing just 41 snaps on defense all season — mostly in mop-up situations. Fellow second-year player Deommodore Lenoir was called upon when Emmanuel Moseley sustained a season-ending injury in Week 5.

Now, Thomas looks like a different player at the opening of camp. The first step for Thomas was recognizing he made a major miscalculation when it came to his offseason training and mindset.

“It’s big,” 49ers defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks said on Wednesday. “You see the improvement of his play out there on the field — the urgency to his game, the confidence that he’s playing with right now.

“He’s a guy we drafted highly a couple years ago, and he’s a guy we’re counting on. If he continues to improve and get better, he’s going to help us on the back end.”

Thomas is battling for one of the top backup spots behind Lenoir and Charvarius Ward.

The 49ers selected Thomas in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He ended up starting seven games as a rookie, including two games in the postseason.

Thomas' interception of Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in overtime of the final regular-season game clinched a playoff spot for the 49ers.

He admits to losing weight and focus entering his second season. He said he attacked his preparation this offseason to put himself in a position to better compete.

Bullocks said he had an honest conversation with Thomas at the conclusion of last season. He presented Thomas with an offseason blueprint designed to address his shortcomings.

Thomas followed through on his end of the bargain.

Nick Sorensen, the 49ers’ defensive passing game specialist, said Thomas needed to work hard in the weight room to complement his natural speed and athleticism.

“The mental side is starting to make a little more sense on how you have to play the game the right way at that position,” Sorensen said of Thomas. “We’re seeing that right now.

“It’s been good from last year to the spring, and from the spring to right now.”

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