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What do the 49ers do with Jimmie Ward now that he’s healthy?

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Should he start at free safety? Nickel? Rotate in?

San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Jimmie Ward is expected to return to the lineup Monday when the San Francisco 49ers host the Cleveland Browns. The question now becomes, what does the team do with Ward? Tarvarius Moore has had his ups and downs and free safety. In coverage, I think he’s done very well, save a few hiccups. For a first-year safety, you can’t ask for better performance through three games. I’ve seen fans complain about Moore, but it’s the plays we can’t see on the broadcast angle or the throws he takes away that make him a viable safety for this defense. It’s figuring out angles, and tackling that has been an issue for the talented “rookie” safety.

John Lynch said, “Tarvarius Moore, although he’s had his struggles, he’s brought speed to our defense.” Moore’s speed is a big reason that teams have not been able to capitalize on the big play against the 49ers consistently. The positive outweighs the negative for Moore, but is that enough to keep Ward off the field?

We know what Ward is at this point. I’m sure Robert Saleh has a plan for how he’ll use Ward moving forward. Lynch’s quote would suggest that Moore isn’t coming off the field. He adds a component that Ward doesn’t: game-changing speed. Does that mean K’Waun Williams will see his playing time cut in half? Somebody has to come off the field. When Williams was injured for the second preseason game, Ward filled in for him in the slot, and he looked great. That was also not even a half of football in August. With Jarvis Landry no longer in the concussion protocol, that’s who you’re looking at facing in the slot now.

Who do you think should start at free safety on Monday?


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