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Don't discount 49ers CB Spencer just yet

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

While we hear a nagging left hamstring injury might be severe enough to cause Shawntae Spencer to miss the season opener, growing speculation that Spencer could lose the starting right cornerback job altogether to either Tarell Brown or Tramaine Brock might be a bit premature.

"He could miss the first week. It's hard to know with the team being so guarded on the subject of injuries," one team insider said. "But I do not see him losing the starting job once he gets healthier."

Spencer had his share of problems last season, both against the pass and run. While his three interceptions tied the departed Nate Clements and Takeo Spikes for the team lead, he surrendered pivotal deep passes in late-season losses to the Packers and Rams.

"But the other guys (Brown and Brock) are still not in Shawntae's class. Brown is a better bet than Brock, but he's a gambler. He will make some big plays, but he'll give up yards, too."

In any event, we hear one positive development in the team's dramatically different looking secondary is better overall communication, with much of the credit for that going to new secondary coach Ed Donatell, who has wasted no time showing his new troops that he knows his stuff.

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