SANTA CLARA — Jason Verrett could surprise some people this season.
The veteran cornerback is preparing for yet another comeback season after tearing his ACL in Week 1 of the 2021 season. The club signed Verrett to a one-year deal during the offseason and both parties could benefit greatly from the reunion.
San Francisco defensive backs coach Cory Undlin is ecstatic for the return of the TCU product. When healthy, Verrett has been one of the top-flight cornerbacks in the league. The nine-year vet has already been a valuable contributor in the defensive backs room, quickly bonding with offseason free agent signing Charvarius Ward who’s known as “Mooney” in the locker room.
“He’s involved,” Undlin said. “He’s interacting. He’s talking to us as if he’s going out there and playing every single down. Huge positive for me as a coach, for us as a coaching staff to have that type of leadership and knowledge, especially for the young guys and even for a guy like Mooney.
“He’s played a lot of ball so to see that type of relationship between those two guys come together, it’s really cool. It’s nice.”
Undlin detailed how Verrett spends every moment with the group when he is not rehabbing his knee. The coach added that from Verrett's level of involvement, you would never think that he is not already playing.
Verrett, who considered retiring after his last major injury in 2019, came back to play nearly a full season (13 games) for the 49ers in 2020. Undlin believes at the start of the 2021 season, the veteran defender looked every bit of the shut-down corner he had seen in the past.
San Francisco 49ers
“I would say the OTA practices and the clips we got of him in OTAs and training camp, it was up there,” Undlin said. “Very, very impressive. I’m not trying to overdo it, it’s incredible.
“Half the clips that we teach off right now in OTAs, when we are talking about what we did and you’re teaching the coverages. He’s on all of them as an example of ‘this is how you do it.’ I’m super excited. We are all super excited he’s out there.”
Verrett rejoins a group of cornerbacks that is significantly deeper than it was in 2021. John Lynch called the club’s free agency a success after signing Ward in the offseason.
There will be healthy competition with the two veterans and Emmanuel Moseley who also is entering his fifth season with the club. Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir will continue to prove themselves in their sophomore seasons.
The group is rounded out with veterans Dontae Johnson, Darqueze Dennard, Ka’dar Hollman and rookies Tariq Castro-Fields, Qwuantrezz Knight and Sam Womack.