Ambry Thomas improving with more playing time

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49ers rookie CB Ambry Thomas has seen his role expand since Emmanuel Moseley went down with an ankle injury. With Moseley likely out for the rest of the regular season, San Francisco needed one of their reserves to step up and Thomas has shown marked improvement since earning a start in Week 14 in Cincinnati.

While the 49ers’ defense faltered late in the team’s loss to the Titans on Thursday, Thomas had by far his best showing of the year. He was targeted five times and allowed just two catches for 42 yards and notched a pair of pass breakups per Pro Football Focus.

Thomas prior to Thursday allowed 13 catches on 15 targets for 250 yards with no pass breakups.

It’s clear the third-round pick is taking strides with his additional opportunities. His numbers in Week 13 weren’t good, and they were worse in Week 14 but his coverage was tighter in that one. He put it all together Thursday and combined good coverage with good ball skills and had the best game of his rookie year.

If Thomas can finish the year trending up, it puts the 49ers’ secondary in a much better spot going into next year when Jason Verrett and K’Waun Williams are both free agents. It’s also an indicator that playing time is helpful for young players who need to improve.

There’s a long way to go before Thomas can consistently be a good NFL starter, but his outings the last three weeks are a sign he’s on the right track to close his first season as a pro.

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