SANTA CLARA -- Safety Eric Reid plans to take a safer route when tackling the Carolina Panthers this time, specifically their 245-pound fullback Mike Tolbert, who delivered a concussion-inducing blow to Reid in the 49ers' Nov. 10 loss.

"I pay a little more attention to guys weights now," Reid said Thursday. "He's 255. Those guys, I'll tackle lower. I'll try being smarter about it."

Reid is no dummy, as indicated by his ability to draw no penalties his entire rookie season as the starting free safety. That's in stark contrast to his predecessor, Dashon Goldson, who accrued six unnecessary-roughness penalties, over $130,000 in fines and a one-game suspension with Tampa Bay.

San Francisco 49ers’ Eric Reid (35) intercepts the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco,
San Francisco 49ers' Eric Reid (35) intercepts the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) ( Nhat V. Meyer )

"He's a very smart guy, mature, emotionally stable," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Reid. "The game's not too big for him."

Reid came through big in winning his playoff debut last Sunday at Green Bay. He tackled Randall Cobb at the 9-yard line on the Packers' final drive, which ended on a tying field goal before the 49ers answered with a ur winning field goal.

"Every play seemed like it was a win or lose situation, and it was like that toward the end," Reid said. "... Cobb got open. I just had to make the tackle and I did."

Officials called only five penalties all game, and Reid said his coaches advised him that there'd likely be less flags in the playoffs. "They got away with some, we got away with some, but you just can't be too blatant," Reid said.

This week's concern is tracking a Panthers offense that offers a mobile quarterback in Cam Newton.

"You have to know the type of quarterback you're facing," Reid said. "At the same time, you trust your front seven to keep him in the pocket. If he does break out, the safeties and the corners have to be ready to save a touchdown."

For Reid's scouting report, he should note that Newton also weighs 245 pounds. Tolbert's load was enough to knock Reid out of the third quarter of the 49ers' 10-9 home loss.

"This is a new season for us," Reid said. "We get another shot at them."