Last Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers starting free safety Jimmie Ward suffered a broken collarbone. Instead of going out and signing a veteran free agent, it appears that many of our wishes are coming true. For the first time since the team drafted him, Tarvarius Moore lined up at free safety in yesterday’s practice. Moore did the same today. For now, Antone Exum and Adrian Colbert are ahead of him on the depth chart. So he is practicing with the reserves. That’s no surprise. The team isn’t going to throw him in with the starters without any practice.
David Lombardi of the Athletic spoke with 49ers DB coach Joe Woods, who expressed excitement about Tarvarius Moore’s current opportunity at free safety. It sounds as if this is a position switch the 49ers are seriously considering making permanent. It’s impossible not to overreact to this, but Moore has logged an interception in both practices, according to Lombardi and Cam Inman. The move was always a head-scratcher—especially when you consider how successful Moore was at safety his final year in college. He registered three interceptions and broke up ten passes. He displayed the type of range that most safeties in the NFL don’t show.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said: the position switch was only due to injuries. When asked where Moore will be playing once the season starts, Saleh said “we’ll cross that bridge once we get there.” Would the team have signed Dontae Johnson on Tuesday, or worked out cornerback Kayvon Webster if they weren’t going to give this a real shot? Doubtful. I’ll pump the brakes on hyping Moore too much, but I like his chances to play. Even if he’s a year away, his skill set is much better suited to play safety.
It’s been quiet on the injury updates with Kwon Alexander. The linebacker tore his ACL at the end of October of 2018. Saleh said he expects Alexander to be ready for training camp. There’s no telling how much he’ll be able to participate. It’s good news knowing that Alexander has a chance to be ready for the season-opener against Tampa Bay.
The first team linebackers were Malcolm Smith at SAM, with Elijah Lee and Dre Greenlaw playing MIKE and WILL. Though they’re playing different positions now, they’re all fighting for playing time. That’ll be an underrated competition to watch as the preseason progresses.
Richard Sherman had a good day. Saleh tipped his hat to Sherman for a pass breakup early in team drills. Sherman jumped in front of an out route from Nick Mullens to Dante Pettis. Sherman couldn’t quite get another foot down for an interception, but Saleh was pleased with the play.
Sherman and Dante Pettis go back and forth, by the sounds of it. Jimmy Garoppolo threaded the needle past Sherman to Pettis in the end zone for a would-be TD, but Pettis couldn’t hold on to it. Garoppolo once again took most of the snaps in 7-on-7 but didn’t participate in any team drills. Jennifer Chan said that was the throw of the day.
Deebo Samuel and George Kittle had their way today. Kittle made three contested touchdown catches during red-zone work. Leaving him 1-on-1 is a death wish. While Samuel took a short slant pass from C.J. Beathard to the house, and also caught a 9-yard touchdown pass.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Nick Mullens reportedly struggled. He had a few passes broken up, and Marcell Harris dropped a would-be interception.
If you thought you were getting out of here without some punter news, you have another thing coming.
Important to note the hang time (a lot) on these punts by Wishnowsky - as a result of their height (a lot) - didn’t time them but next time I will. https://t.co/sBBOkej8Gs— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) May 29, 2019
Other Niners nuggets
Fred Gammage will join the 49ers as full-time member of the team’s pro scouting department. Gammage worked for Arizona State’s assistant director of player personnel previously.
I love seeing players get out in the community. Kittle and Sherman will appear in this:
Richard Sherman & George Kittle appear in a short video released today on behalf of 49ers PRIDE, a 1st-of-its-kind NFL fan community for LGBTQ 49ers followers. (It's a far cry from when Ahmad Brooks filmed a PSA for the team in 2012 but had no idea it supported gay rights) https://t.co/ImCgTycRVZ— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) May 29, 2019
The 49ers are the first team in the NFL to create a LGBTQ+ fan club.
Here is the entire Saleh press conference
Robert Saleh talks OTAs and progress of the new guys. https://t.co/wBep1gVWxi— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) May 29, 2019
Finally, we won’t be seeing any Jordan Matthews passes this year.
Worst TD celebration of the day: Jordan Matthews, who after catching a pass in the end zone from Jimmy Garoppolo, went to throw the ball against the fence and missed, throwing it instead into the players parking lot where it hit a car. Catcalls from defensive players ensued.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) May 29, 2019