49ers opening season with new secondary

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers will have four new starters in their secondary for Sunday's season opener, and not one of them started a game for the team last year.

Three of them weren't even with the Niners in 2010. But the revamped unit has worked well together this summer and is eager to take on the responsibility that comes with holding up the back end of San Francisco's defense.

San Francisco finished 24th in the NFL last season in passing defense. Strong safety Donte Whitner is one of two former high first-round draft choices the 49ers brought in as free agents this summer to upgrade the unit, joining left cornerback Carlos Rogers as the new leaders of the unit.