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Stepping In, Stepping Up
January 12 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
After a 2000 season where the defensive backfield was under tremendous scrutiny, the 49ers were confident that having given their defensive backs time to make mistakes, they would develop into better players. As this season approached, the coaches became increasingly more confident that they had made the right decision. Tremendous improvement was already being seen.

Then the unthinkable happened. Starting strong safety John Keith suffered a season ending injury. All of a sudden the 49ers were wondering if Zack Bronson could step up to the starting role after showing some weaknesses when it came to tackling that had placed him on the bench in the first place. Now the coaches were readying themselves for a defensive backfield that would be susceptible to other offenses.

Bronson however, the most veteran player in the defensive backfield answered the call. Intercepting a team high (tied with Ahmed Plummer), seven interceptions, and making plays all over the field, Bronson stepped in to the safety position and stepped it up a notch. There was no way Bronson was relinquishing his position.

Bronson has since done a tremendous job at the free safety position. He along with Schulters, Webster and Plummer are quickly becoming one of the best defensive backfields in the NFL. Itís all because of the chemistry and learning experiences that this group has gone though together.

Bronsonís addition to the defensive backfield is something Iíd been waiting for since his rookie season where he had three interceptions off the bench. Thus to say Iím pleased with how he has performed so far would be an understatement. Bronson has been making plays all season, and with the playoffs here, thereís no reason for him to stop.

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