October 17 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers are clearly hurting at safety now that Zack Bronson has broken his foot. Out for as many as eight weeks, the 49esr will have to go with Ronnie Heard to fill in the position. While Heard is a capable backup, he certainly isnít the player that Bronson has proven to be - and of course he is battling through a high ankle sprain injury too.
After Heard, the 49ers turn to Jason Moore who is a relative unknown in the league. They would have the option of shifting Rashad Holman to the position from cornerback as well, and could ask Frank Strong, a linebacker to fill in at the position too.
Starting safety Tony Parrish can play free safety too, and that would give the 49ers some flexibility, however, Parrish has been an impact player from the strong position, and having to shift him would not be ideal for the defense.
The final option is of course to activate John Keith from the practice squad. Keith lost his starting spot to injury in the first game last season and has not been able to get healthy since. If heís healthy, and ready for football he would really be the 49ers best option.
The lack of depth at safety doesnít come as much of a surprise. This off-season general manager Terry Donahue and the coaching staff decided to keep two place kickers on their roster. One position they went light at was safety - releasing veteran Chad Cota (who is contributing to the Rams right now). Six weeks into the season it seems that although the 49ers place kicking position is far from perfect, that the second roster spot is really going to waste. Having Cota around sure would have been a nice insurance policy.