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I’m not sure why Jimmie Ward was fined for this hit

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Watch the play and tell me what’s up.

New York Jets v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The close of the practice week means we start to find out who is getting fined for the previous week’s action. Even though the 49ers played on Thursday Night Football last week, it still took some time to learn that Jimmie Ward has been fined for his hit on Robert Woods.

Matt Maiocco is reporting Ward was fined $24,309 for his hit on Woods. Ward was penalized for unnecessary roughness, and based on the NFL’s fine schedule, maybe it was for impermissible use of the helmet? Here is a look at the hit.

The $24,309 fine amount under player safety rules applies to spearing, impermissible use of the helmet (including illegal launching), a hit on a defenseless player, and a blindside block.

Looking at the GIF above, I can’t see how it’s a hit on a defenseless player, but maybe I’m wrong. I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I thought it was a BS call at the time, but given the lack of instant replay, I’m not surprised the flag was thrown. The refs err on the side of caution.

On further review, however, I don’t see how this is deserving of a fine. Ward appears to lead by lowering his shoulder, but after Ward begins to lower his shoulder, Woods starts to duck his head as well. If there was more lead time, Ward could go low for Woods’ midsection or legs, but that was so close, I just don’t see how Ward can be expected to not hit him that way. It baffles me.