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Golden Nuggets: Do the 49ers need a complete overhaul in the secondary this offseason?

Your San Francisco 49ers links for Thursday, December 10, 2020

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Buffalo Bills v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Since they had just played on Monday night, the 49ers held a light practice on Wednesday. Usually, the media is allowed to watch about 25 minutes worth of practice. On Wednesday, it was only eight minutes. The good news is K’Waun Williams was limited. The 49ers miss Williams’s run defense in the worst way.

Bills’ Leslie Frazier was critical of Levi Wallace’s game vs. 49ers

“There were definitely some plays out there that he’d like to have back. There were some moments where you’d like to see him get a hand on some of those balls. It didn’t happen.”

Wallace recorded among the NFL’s worst coverage grades via Pro Football Focus’ grading scale, a 28.1, vs. the Niners. Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Frazier mentioned that, complimenting Wallace’s tackling.

“There was some other times where he was in position and was able to help us, making some tackles,” Frazier said. “But it did seem as if they were really, in his case… [throwing to] the guy that was away from Tre’Davious. When that happens, you’ve just got to find a way to make some plays.”

This week’s mailbag: Was this season just an aberration and can the 49ers quickly return to their 2019 form?

Marcus P. asks: If Robert Saleh leaves to become a head coach, would the 49ers be awarded two third-round picks as per the recently approved system for hiring minority coaches?

Yes. In an effort to boost the number of minority head coaches and general managers, the NFL passed a resolution last month that rewards teams for developing candidates in that category. The reward: a third-round pick in consecutive years.

If Saleh, whose parents are Lebanese American, gets a head-coaching gig, the 49ers would get third-round picks in the 2021 and 2022 drafts. Those selections would come at the very end of the third round, after the compensatory picks. So we’re probably talking about pick No. 107 or so.

That’s significant in any season but perhaps even more so this April considering the 49ers currently don’t have a third-round pick. They traded it to Washington for tackle Trent Williams.

Should the 49ers lose a minority coach and an executive to head coach and GM roles, they’d be compensated with third-round picks for three consecutive years. Martin Mayhew, one of John Lynch’s top lieutenants, is a GM candidate this year.

49ers Overreactions: Backfield, secondary need complete overhaul

But watching Josh Allen obliterate the 49ers’ pass defense — until Monday night, an area that was considered a strength — had to be a cold, hard slap in the face.

Allen has the athleticism to make plays with his feet. It’s not just running for yards. It was his ability to sidestep the blitz or break out of the pocket and throw the ball down the field while on the move.

It is more difficult than ever to put together a strong offensive line because of the way the game is played in college. And NFL teams need a quarterback who can buy time with their legs when their pass protection breaks down.

The quarterback position has changed a lot, and the 49ers must look hard this offseason at finding a way to keep up with the growing number of NFL teams that are turning their offenses over to young, dynamic quarterbacks.

Why the 49ers Finally Let Brandon Aiyuk Return Punts

“I’ve been wanting to use him,” Shanahan said. “We always knew we would use him there if he did as good as he did in college and nothing has changed. We felt that since the day we met him, but you want to wait until he’s consistently getting out there, getting a few more practices in. I told him on Wednesday that he was going to have some opportunities in the game. That’s also what went into Trent Taylor going down. We knew we could go with Richie James or Aiyuk.

“I wanted to give Aiyuk a chance and he got one on the first punt of the game, and he did with it what we were hoping he could do. When you have a starting receiver like that, you’re probably not going to put him out there every single time, but I view punt returns and kick returns as two totally different things. Punt returns I think are a lot easier to protect yourself as opposed to a kickoff returns. Doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt, though. You can get hurt on anything.”

Kyle Juszczyk and 49ers had ‘informal discussions’ about return, fullback willing to weigh options

“I would just say that I absolutely, absolutely loved my time here with the Niners,” Juszczyk said on the Murph & Mac show. “It’s been absolutely phenomenal. I really would love to continue [my career] here, but my economics degree would tell me that it would be smart to weigh my options, and see what’s out there, and see what kind of opportunities I do have for my family, and that sort of thing.”