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Golden Nuggets: How important is Jimmie Ward to the 49ers defense?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for August 10, 2020

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If you’re a golf watcher, how about Collin Morikawa over the weekend? I don’t mind a little primetime golf. It’s nice to have sports teased to us, like basketball and baseball, but it seems like college football will receive bad news this week.

49ers again need Jimmie Ward to perform at high level in 2020

Even though Ward managed to stay healthy over the majority of last season, his lengthy injury history won’t go away anytime soon.

Ward still suffered a broken collarbone and broken finger leading up to the regular season last year. Yes, he recovered from both and still managed to contribute. But realizing he’s landed on season-ending injured reserve in four of his first six seasons at the pro level doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence with regards to his availability.

Injuries aside, Ward hasn’t always been the best at coverage. Even in 2018, when Ward was assuming the same free safety duties, PFF credited him with a 51.3 pass-coverage grade despite allowing only 14 receptions on the year. The year before, Ward was given a 51.5 pass-coverage grade, although 2015 and 2016 saw him in the 60s, albeit when he was playing more cornerback than safety.

Joe Staley shows off impressive weight loss since 49ers retirement

“As an offensive lineman, you’re always known as this big, humongous, unathletic blob,” Staley said to ESPN. “Offensive linemen get casted in a movie, and they’re always 500 pounds. Then you get the opportunity to be healthy again, and all of the effort you used to put into football, you put into that. It gives you a focus once you retire. It’s a little bit vain, but I’m starting to see abs that I’ve always wanted. And it’s kind of exciting.”

Deebo Samuel shows off his progress:

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7 Weeks Post Surgery

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College Football Players to the Adults in Charge: ‘Let us Play’

Instead of a Little League baseball team, the antagonists are college football players from across the country. And instead of the artificial turf of Houston’s Astrodome, the battleground is social media.

Whether or not they’ll be as successful in swaying the decision of the adults in charge as they mull over what appears to be the inevitable decision to pull the plug on the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, their message is the same.

“Let Us Play.”

It’s an effort voiced best by a series of Tweets from Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence:

66 NFL players have opted out over virus concerns. What this means for the 2020 season11 hours ago

At least 66 pro players have opted out of 2020 play. And with the United States experiencing a surge in cases as MLB weathers its own outbreak, the immediate future of the NFL is in uncharted territory.

The NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, acknowledged in an interview Wednesday with NPR that it is anticipated the league will have more Covid-19 cases during the season that’s set to begin September 10.

“We expect to have positive cases,” Sills said. “No matter how careful that we try to be and how many protocols we have in place, we know that this disease remains endemic in our societies and our communities, and it’s highly contagious.”