49ers' starting DBs will be easy to spot with new numbers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SANTA CLARA -- The starting four members of the 49ers' defensive backfield will not be difficult to spot this season.
Free safety Jimmie Ward, cornerback Jason Verrett, strong safety Jaquiski Tartt and Emmanuel Moseley, the cornerback on the other side, decided to take advantage of the NFL rule change that allows for players at more positions to wear single-digit jersey numbers.
Ward, who previously wore Nos. 20 and 25 in his seven-year career, now is No. 1.
Jason Verrett, No. 22 from the time he entered the NFL in 2014, switched to his college uniform No. 2.
On Wednesday, Tartt made the change to No. 3. Earlier this offseason, he went from No. 29 to No. 26.
And No. 4 belongs to Moseley, who tossed aside his old No. 41.
“Yeah, they’ve got something going on there," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "They don't really involve me on it. But yeah, they're 1, 2, 3, and 4 right now. I know they like it, and as long as they like it and it makes them play better I’m a fan of it.”
Tartt's role as a starting defensive back had been in jeopardy through most of training camp. But while seeing extended action on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, Tartt showed that he is back after battling a lingering toe injury. He made it out of the game healthy and feeling good.
Tartt is in good position to be the 49ers' Week 1 starter against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 12, Shanahan said.
"He practiced full (Wednesday), too, so hopefully he'll get the same thing (Thursday)," Shanahan said. "Tartt’s definitely good enough and shown that to be our starter. But if he can make it through next week healthy, that’s what it looks like he's on track for.”
The most obvious single digit for a defensive back is No. 5 for a nickel back. But K'Waun Williams will not get that chance to join the other top players in the 49ers' secondary.
Quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick, was issued No. 5, which he also wore at North Dakota State. He is not changing. And the 49ers anticipate that he will wear that uniform number for a long, long time.