The San Francisco 49ers travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, and their secondary has question marks at precisely the wrong time. Jaquiski Tartt is day-to-day after suffering a shoulder stinger on Sunday, and head coach Kyle Shanahan would not yet commit to who would start at cornerback opposite Richard Sherman.
The team will know more about Tartt later this week, but Shanahan said on Monday that if he can’t go, Jimmie Ward could end up as an option next to Adrian Colbert. Jimmie Ward is a backup at all of the defensive back positions. Antone Exum came on in place of Tartt for the final few snaps, but Ward was not available because he had replaced Ahkello Witherspoon in the fourth quarter against the Lions. With Witherspoon’s status for Sunday up in the air, it seems a decent possibility that Ward would start in his place, and if Tartt cannot play, Exum would start at strong safety. There is one particularly good option on the open market, but the team seems fine sticking with what they’ve got.
With questions at strong safety and cornerback, the 49ers have to prepare for the Chiefs’ prolific passing attack. Patrick Mahomes is off to one of the best two-game starts in NFL history, and he’s benefiting from Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce off to strong starts. The Chiefs passing attack could not be clicking at a higher rate right now, and the 49ers have a whole lot of work to do.