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Golden Nuggets: The 49ers don’t need Earl Thomas

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Monday, August 24, 2020

NFL: DEC 01 49ers at Ravens Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sunday’s practice didn’t end on a high note after three players left with an injury, yet, Earl Thomas being connected to the San Francisco 49ers was the biggest news story of the day.

49ers Do NOT NEED Earl Thomas III

I understand the temptation of wanting him. He is a superb talent and it is always fun to play with the idea of having your favorite team acquire a popular name.

But it is a major red flag to see Thomas get suddenly cut after a simple scuffle with a teammate. Clearly, there is more to this than meets the eye. This seems like it’s the last straw with Thomas, and that there has been a lot of irritating events occurring with him behind closed doors.

So his release stems deeper than just a fight at practice. Fights at practice, especially in training camp, go down all the time. That isn’t what causes the red flag, but the true mystery of what was happening away from watchful eyes.

I do not even have to mention that the 49ers are fine at safety with Jimmie Ward, who they just cashed out, and Jaquiski Tartt. Thomas is an upgrade over them and is familiar with the defensive system, but a move like this would be a head-scratcher.

49ers Depth Gets Tested, Defense Shows its Prowess; Observations from 49ers Training Camp - Aug. 23

- Solomon Thomas may have had his best session of the week. The defensive lineman notched multiple quarterback pressures and a run stop during the drill. He also beat his man on several 1-on-1 reps.

“It’s been our intent to try to keep him inside as much as possible, but he’s such a talented football player that sometimes it’s, ‘well shoot, we’ve got to get him on the field,’” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure that Solly stays inside at all costs. If you look at his tape from a year ago when he’s inside and solely inside, he’s a very, very effective football player. (He) made a lot of plays for us last year inside, and so our intent is try to keep him in there because you’re right that’s where he excels the most.”

The Good and Not So Good from Day 8 of 49ers Training Camp

THE GOOD

1. Free safety Jimmie Ward.

Read Jimmy Garoppolo’s eyes from centerfield and sprinted all the way to the sideline to break up a deep pass intended for Kendrick Bourne, who had beaten cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon deep. This was the best play I’ve ever seen Ward make in an NFL practice or game. He seems to have improved his instincts and reaction time at free safety after playing an entire season there in 2019 for the first time since entering the league. The 49ers don’t need and absolutely should not sign Earl Thomas, whom the Ravens just cut. He’s old and players don’t seem to like him. The Ravens certainly didn’t. So why should the 49ers take on that headache? They already have Ward, who’s better than Thomas anyway.

2. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley.

After breaking up a deep pass intended for Brandon Aiyuk on Saturday, Moseley denied two more deep passes to Aiyuk on Sunday. During the second deep pass, Aiyuk appeared to pull his hamstring. More on him later. Moseley has not given up any long catches during camp and clearly is one of the two best corners on the team. I understand the 49ers want Moseley to compete for a starting job, but he’s crushing the competition.

3. Linebacker Kwon Alexander.

Broke up a long pass Garoppolo intended to throw to Bourne, who was running a deep corner route. Alexander read Garoppolo’s eyes, backpedalled, jumped and tipped the ball away. One of the most athletic plays of training camp. Alexander is phenomenal in zone coverage.

Another 49ers WR down? Brandon Aiyuk hurts hammy

Being a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers is fast becoming a dangerous proposition.

First-round rookie Brandon Aiyuk is the latest in a growing list of injured Niners wideouts camouflaged as the walking wounded.

Aiyuk left practice early on Sunday following an apparent hamstring injury, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

The severity of the injury remains to be determined as does the toll taken on the offense as the rash of WR injuries spreads.

Aiyuk joins fellow receivers Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd and Richie James on the injury front.