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Antoine Bethea on 49ers: 'We've got to keep it rolling'

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The San Francisco 49ers' defense has seen as much high-profile turnover this offseason as any NFL team. The stunning retirements of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland continue to cause startled reaction from teammates

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"It was definitely a surprise," safety Antoine Bethea said, per ESPN.com. "But, like Vernon (Davis) said, it put everything into perspective. This game is short-lived and you've got to put everything into it while you're playing this game.

"Two great players. Chris Borland came on strong for us towards the end of the year, but we've got to keep it rolling. I'm pretty sure we're going to have guys that are going to step in and play some great football for us."

The changes at linebacker aren't only losses for the 49ers' defense.

Bethea's secondary lost two starting cornerbacks in Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox. It's the second consecutive season that the 49ers have lost two starting corners.

The 30-year-old Bethea isn't worried about importing a new coordinator in Eric Mangini or having to replace two more starters in his secondary, because he believes the players next in line are ready to make the leap.

"It's going to be fine," Bethea said. "I have no worries about that. I think last year, I think there was a lot of talk about our secondary, but I think our secondary did pretty good last year. We've got a lot of young guys.

"T-Brock (Tramaine Brock) is healthy and once we come together, get this camaraderie together out here working, pushing each other, get these OTAs, minicamps and all that, I think we'll be fine."

The 49ers led the NFL with 23 interceptions last season. With the changes in front of them, the back end might be asked to step up even more in 2015, even though they've gone through big -- albeit much quieter -- fluctuations themselves.

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