Welcome back, Perrish Cox. Now get to work.
The 49ers on Monday signed their former cornerback, who may be needed in Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff game against Green Bay. Coach Jim Harbaugh said his team, which had an open roster spot after wide receiver Mario Manningham went on injured reserve Friday, planned to sign Cox no matter what happened in Sunday’s finale at Arizona.
It turns out the most significant injury was to the team’s most experienced cornerback, Carlos Rogers, who suffered a strained right hamstring on the Cardinals’ final drive. Rogers said he didn’t think the injury was serious, but he had an MRI on Monday to assess the damage.
The 49ers will not release the results of that exam. Rogers’ status will be best gauged by how much he practices this week.
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His absence would be a big story line in the run-up to Sunday’s game.
Rogers is the team’s most veteran cornerback, leads the group and plays the critical nickel cornerback position when opponents move to three or four wide receivers. Harbaugh said Eric Wright would fill in at nickel should Rogers miss the game. Presumably, Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock would be the outside cornerbacks.
If the 49ers needed a fourth cornerback, Cox would be available. He played 51 snaps – his busiest game with the 49ers – against the Packers in the 2012 season opener, all when the 49ers were in their dime defense. The 49ers did not go to that formation as much in this season’s opener against Green Bay – likely because the Packers have a better running attack – and Cox was in for 13 plays.
The 49ers released Cox on Nov. 12 to make room on the roster for rookie linebacker Nick Moody. Cox then was on and off Seattle’s roster before being released by the Seahawks on Friday. The 49ers also considered signing receiver Chuck Jacobs off their practice squad.
Easier by miles – The 49ers, who traveled farther than any other NFL team this season, will get a reprieve in 2014.
They have only one trip to the East Coast, at the New York Giants, and won’t have to board a plane when they visit the Raiders.
Along with their division games, the road schedule also includes trips to Denver and Dallas as well as what has become a seemingly annual visit to New Orleans. It will be the fourth year in a row the 49ers visit the Saints in the preseason or regular season.
Highlighting the home schedule is a visit from Alex Smith and Kansas City, a prime-time candidate. The 49ers also will host playoff-bound San Diego and Philadelphia as well as Chicago and Washington.
Times and dates will be released in April.