49ers safety Eric Reid embracing new role in secondary

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49ers safety Eric Reid is excited about the potential of his new role in Robert Saleh’s defense.

According to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, Reid is going to be expected to play closer to the line of scrimmage next season for the 49ers. In the past, he’s frequently been asked to play in the deep middle of the field instead, but Reid is eager for his chance to be a bigger factor in the running game as an in-the-box safety.

I feel like I was made for this position with my body type being a bigger safety, so I’m excited about this year,” Reid said. “[Hitting is] my favorite part of the game. I used to get mad at myself if I didn’t have at least one big shot, so to have that type of mentality for everybody, I tell the guys all the time I don’t do a lot of talking; I let my pads do the talking. So for somebody else to get a big hit will make me want to get a big hit, will make the next person want to make a play and it’s just infectious. To set that type of culture, I think it’s awesome.”

Reid has played closer to the line of scrimmage at times with San Francisco. However, 49ers’ safeties have been asked to play both free and strong safety positions in past iterations of the team’s defensive schemes. Now Reid will be mostly dedicated to playing down closer to linebacker depth instead with Jimmie Ward taking over the large share of free safety duties.

“Even dating back to college, this is the first time where it’s a distinct strong and a distinct free [safety],” Reid said. “I’ve been used to the interchangeability type of role, so it is new.

“I feel like I’m just using what God has blessed me with more, which is my size, being in the box, in the run game. In the past, I have just felt like I could do more and being in the post, I can’t use my size as much when it comes to the run game.”

Reid has been plenty successful in his previous roles, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2013. Now he may be in a role that better suits his skills for the long-term.