They say players should never lose their job due to an injury. Few players have been on both sides of that saying. Tramaine Brock is one of them. His return to the nickel corner position is poetic justice for the fourth year player from little known Belhaven University. He has cemented himself as the nickel corner for the San Francisco 49ers with his stellar play over the last two games.
Brock originally lost his job as the nickel corner back to Chris Culliver after suffering from a hand injury in 2011. Culliver played very well last year but suffered a season ending knee injury in training camp. Nnamdi Asomugha was brought in to compete for a job and the opportunity presented itself for him to take over for Culliver.
Nnamdi was injured during a loss to the Indianapolis Colts and Brock was inserted into the lineup against the St. Louis Rams. Brock responded with a solid game as he collected three tackles and was in on two passes deflected. One of those deflections was a very timely one. Brock was able to deflect the ball into the hands of Donte Whitner. That play was a huge momentum changer in that game.
The way Brock played against the Houston Texans in a prime time game truly locked him in at the nickel position. He got things started with a interception return for an 18-yard touchdown. He also jumped a pass that was intended for Andre Johnson and made the interception.
“It wasn’t something we saw on film during the week. We called a trap, so I just did my job, did my technique, and the ball came to me and I made a play.” Brock said.
Jim Harbaugh highlighted how pleased he was with Brock when he talked about how he set the tone for the game: “Was a huge play. Good to see Tramaine, he’s such a great guy. Played the coverage perfect. Finished the play. Great way to start the game.”
NaVorro Bowman also talked about how much they needed to get off to a good start. “We all did. Anytime we can get turnovers against a good team like that, it definitely lights up the team. Gets the offense going, gets them in rhythm a lot faster. That’s why the coaches harp on turnovers so much because they can energize your team and give them a chance to take over the game.”
Brock has definitely made it hard for Vic Fangio to not allow him to continue to play the nickel spot. Fangio acknowledged how Brock has made a couple of game changing plays over the last two weeks. He is well deserving of remaining in the nickel spot as opposed to Nnamdi. Brock has fully taken advantage of the opportunity, and it could even allow him to cash in next year after signing a one year $1.3 million deal before the 2013 season.