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Golden Nuggets: Former 49ers TE Greg Clark passes away at 49

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Saturday, July 10, 2021

Greg Clark 49ers

In today’s links, you’ll read about Jerry Rice and how he thinks Brnadon Aiyuk has only scratched the surface, a fantasy football preview on the 49ers quarterbacks, an unexpected passing of a former Niners player, an interview with Jimmie Ward, and a blurb about Kevin Givens.

Jerry Rice hypes ‘explosive’ 49ers receiver heading into his second season with San Francisco

The NFL’s all-time leading receiver believes Aiyuk has only scratched his “explosive” potential and should be able to use his speed to help the 49ers’ downfield attack in 2021.

“I think he’s going to come in and, you know, with a year under his belt he is going to be a better football player,” Rice told NBC Sports Bay Area. “His commitment, his route-running; he is very explosive downfield, he can catch the ball underneath, he can do it all.”

2021 49ers Fantasy Football Preview: If Jimmy Garoppolo can’t get it done, is Trey Lance ready?

Number to know: 7.97

That’s the 49ers yards per attempt over the past three seasons combined, better than what all but four quarterbacks managed in 2020. Garoppolo has started 25 of the 48 games over that span; Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard started the other 23. Garoppolo is a fine quarterback, but there’s a reason the 49ers went out and tried to find a long-term upgrade for him two offseasons in a row; Mullens and Beathard are, obviously, somewhere south of “fine.”

The question is whether Trey Lance is ready to step in and take this offense to the next level. He has the talent to do it, and he certainly has the talent around him. He’s the skeleton key that unlocks this offense’s full potential, if he’s up for it.

Former 49ers tight end Greg Clark dies unexpectedly at age 49

“His recent suffering from CTE symptoms cannot extinguish the breadth and depth of his impact on us and others, and we are forever grateful for the time we have had with him,” the statement read. “It is our hope that through further research we can gain more knowledge surrounding CTE.”

Clark played four NFL seasons with the 49ers and started 39 of the 55 games in which he appeared before his career was cut short due to injuries. He caught 92 passes for 909 yards and four touchdowns in his regular-season career.

In the 1998 playoffs, Clark caught two touchdown passes from Steve Young against the Green Bay Packers in a game best remembered for Terrell Owens’ last-second touchdown catch from Young to pull off a 30-27 victory at Candlestick Park.

How Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt Make Each Other Better

“Like in the post. Because I played quarters coverage in college, and he played post safety, so he’s used to playing free, he’s used to knowing how to read the quarterback, but it took me a while. I just realized some of the mistakes I was making at post safety. Like, I was just backpedaling. It’s three-step quick game (from the quarterback), and I’m backpedaling five or six yards. Why am I moving? I shouldn’t even move. I’d have even more of a kill shot or opportunity to get a tip and an overthrow.

“And it took me to realize what Jaquiski was saying, then I started watching his film. I was tired of watching me. I watch all the safeties in the league. I watched Adrian Colbert, the guy they gave my spot to, and I watched Jaquiski, and I noticed that when they see the quick game, they barely move, and that’s why they got to the ball so fast. It took me a while to realize that. I had to learn from my mistakes.”

49ers depth chart: 3 players who see reduced role in 2021

No. 3: 49ers Defensive Tackle Kevin Givens

With his offseason legal issues now behind him, third-year defensive tackle Kevin Givens now faces a challenging battle to secure a spot as a depth member of a revamped defensive line heading into 2021.

A year ago, Givens seemingly shot out of nowhere en route to appearing in 13 games and recording 19 tackles, three quarterback hits, a sack and a fumble recovery, thanks largely to a slew of injuries the 49ers suffered along the D-line.

This led to a solid belief the Niners could go with Givens over then-pending free-agent defensive tackle D.J. Jones in the coming years.