Tyrann Matheiu has caught the eye of San Francisco’s coaching staff. Arizona’s rookie free safety is the second-leading tackler on his team and was praised this week by 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Matheiu slipped to the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft because of character concerns, but he has quickly become a play-maker on the Cardinals. Size and speed are two things working against Matheiu, but the rookie defensive back always finds his way to the football.
The NFC’s reigning Defensive Player of the Week is expected to resume his role as San Francisco’s third cornerback in nickel personnel groupings. Brock recorded a pair of interceptions and returned the first for an 18-yard touchdown. He became the sixth cornerback in franchise history to win the conference’s weekly honor.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Brock’s play will keep him in the No. 3 spot and it’s “possible” veteran Nnamdi Asomugha will be inactive. Arizona has been balanced on offense this season, ranking as the NFL’s No. 22 passing attack (225.2 yards per game) and No. 23 rushing attack (81 yards per game). Brock should expect to face two physical wideouts on Sunday. Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald have 21 and 24 catches, respectively. Slot receiver Andre Roberts has 13 receptions on the year.
When the 49ers face divisional opponents at home under Jim Harbaugh, the team has not lost. The only blemish, however, was a 24-24 tie with St. Louis last season. Besides that game, San Francisco has won five divisional games with a physical brand of disciplined football. The 49ers were able to minimize penalties last week and were plus-four in the turnover battle. It’s a recipe for success under Harbaugh and the 49ers will look to find that formula Sunday against Arizona.