Injuries have been problematic for the San Francisco 49ers this season, with Arik Armstead the latest to head to injured reserve. However, some of these injuries have opened the door for some players to establish themselves in the starting lineup.
One of the most notable has been safety Jaquiski Tartt. Pro Football Focus posted their 32 observations about the 32 NFL teams on Thursday, and for the 49ers they mentioned that Tartt has ten run stops, which is tied for the second-most among safeties. A run stop is a solo tackle that results in a “win” for the defense. A win varies by down.
Tartt had this big win on a third and short, and it feels like he is regularly getting into the backfield from his box safety role. I did like that he credited Solomon Thomas for clearing the way for him.
The 49ers welcomed Eric Reid back to practice and game action last week, albeit in a limited role. Reid was listed as a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, which suggests he is at or close to 100 percent in his return from the knee injury.
The question becomes how the 49ers will rotate Reid, Tartt, and Jimmie Ward. Heading into training camp, the thought was that Ward and Reid would start at the safety positions, and Tartt would play in a dime backer type of role. When Ward opened training camp on the PUP list, Tartt played his free safety role. When Reid went down and Ward was healthy again, Tartt moved over to strong safety.
Now, the 49ers have their full contingent of safeties available to them, and they have to start making the hard decisions. How do you rotate this group?