The San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears square off this Sunday, and both teams will likely be without their starting free safety. A day after getting in a limited session, 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt was downgraded to DNP. In Chicago, Eddie Jackson was a DNP for a second straight day as he works his way back from an ankle sprain suffered in Week 15.
Tartt has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury and looks like he will miss a third straight. Antone Exum has started in his place while D.J. Reed has started at nickel back in place of K’Waun Williams. On Thursday, Williams was upgraded from limited to full. If he is able to play on Sunday, we might see Reed moved out to free safety. He has looked good at nickel back, but the team has used him at free safety as well. He started at free safety in Week 4.
Jackson injured his ankle interception an Aaron Rodgers pass this past week, and while it is not believed to be season-threatening, it would appear to be something that might keep him out the rest of the regular season. The Bears are going to the playoffs, but are still in the hunt for a first round bye. Jackson was voted the NFC’s starting free safety for the Pro Bowl, and is currently the top-graded free safety at Pro Football Focus.
49ers Thursday practice participation report
DNP: LB Mark Nzeocha (groin), S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder)
Limited: RB Matt Breida (ankle), LB Malcolm Smith (Achilles)
Full: S Antone Exum (hip), C Weston Richburg (knee), T Joe Staley (not injury related), CB K’Waun Williams (knee)
Bears Thursday practice participation report
DNP: DT Akiem Hicks (illness), S Eddie Jackson (ankle), LB Aaron Lynch (elbow)