The San Francisco 49ers suffered another close loss on Sunday, but we continue to see some bright spots. The latest is the continued development of Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt. Pro Football Focus released their latest round of game grades, and Ward and Tartt were among the top five 49ers.
The secondary was a bit of a question mark this offseason. The 49ers moved Jimmie Ward to free safety and Eric Reid to strong safety. That was followed by Ward opening training camp on the PUP list, and spending most of camp on the list. Jaquiski Tartt initially moved into his free safety spot, but then he got hurt, and Lorenzo Jerome took over. Tartt eventually returned and was starting opposite Reid heading into the season.
Reid then suffered a knee injury, and that resulted in Tartt moving back to strong safety, and Ward moving back into his free safety role. On Sunday, Reid returned to action, but in a limited role. He played ten snaps, serving primarily as their nickel backer. He took over for Tartt for one snap when the latter had to leave the game with an injury.
Enter training camp, the general thought was that Ward and Reid would start at safety, and Tartt would play in the dime defense. However, with Tartt playing so well the past few weeks next to Ward, does that change? After Sunday’s game, Reid discussed his playing time, and the plan coming into the game.
“Yeah, so the game plan was to ease me back into the game. They wanted to keep my reps down because I haven’t been conditioning for four weeks so it wouldn’t have been smart for me to be out there for an entire game when I have only practiced for one week. Kudos to the training staff and the coaches for taking care of my body.”
Assuming Tartt, Reid, and Ward are all healthy the rest of the season (no sure thing), who will be the starting safeties come December? Reid is a free agent after this season, while Tartt will have one more year on his contract. The 49ers cannot sign Tartt to an extension until after this season, but maybe they decide he’s a long-term answer?
Assuming no injuries, who will be 49ers starting safeties Week 12, coming out of the bye?
This poll is closed
Jimmie Ward, Eric Reid
Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt
Jaquiski Tartt, Eric Reid