Perrish Cox has been playing football since childhood, but he never had a feeling like the one he felt on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field. Playing in front of the green and gold clad fans at one of football’s trademark venues, Cox appeared in his first game since the 2010 season.
Cox couldn’t have been busier in Week 1, as the 49ers faced the Green Bay Packers and their pass-happy attack. Aaron Rodgers and the offense used four wide receivers for much of the afternoon, meaning Cox was pressed into duty as a dime defensive back and rarely came off the field.
“I think I was too energized,” Cox said with a laugh. “I had so much energy I kind of started cramping up a little bit I was so hyped up. It was a great. … Just being able to play a game, that’s really all I needed.”
The 30-22 victory was nice, too.
A lot had changed since the last time Cox played, but one thing stayed consistent: Ed Donatell was still his position coach. The 49ers defensive backs coach guided Cox during his rookie year with the Denver Broncos in 2010 and kept in contact with him, proving to be the biggest reason why Cox chose to join the 49ers this offseason.
“Coach Donatell ain’t changed at all,” Cox said. “He’s the same exact dude.”
Cox was in a bit of unfamiliar territory as he lined up across Green Bay’s slot receivers on the inside of the 49ers formation. He spent his whole career playing on the outside as a traditional cornerback up until this season, but has grown nicely into a his role.
“I’m used to being at the corner position and rallying to the ball and cutting everything in back into my help,” Cox said. “I am the linebacker now, I am the inside help.”
Pro Bowl corner Carlos Rogers is familiar with the inside corner position in coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense and has been one of Cox’s biggest mentors. Cox has also learned immensely from the team’s safeties and linebackers as he acclimates to the new position.
“It’s basically started from scratch and grew,” Cox said.
Cox didn’t have any expectations when he signed with San Francisco this offseason, but is pleased with his ability to contribute to his new team immediately. That’s not to say he didn’t feel some pre-game butterflies.
“At first, I was a bit nervous,” Cox said. “Like I said, it’s my first time ever playing it. My whole thought process was, ’I don’t want to mess up. I don’t want any mistakes.’ … Now I’m looking forward to every Sunday.”
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