49ers to Face Patriots Without Their Top Safeties


Getty Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt #29 and free safety Jimmie Ward #20 of the San Francisco 49ers.

The San Francisco 49ers are used to bad news at this point. Last Sunday they were without all three of their top cornerbacks and now, they’ll be without two of their starting safeties against the Patriots.

The final injury report was posted on Friday which featured strong safety Jaquiski Tartt and free safety Jimmie Ward officially ruled out for Sunday’s matchup at Gillette Stadium.

The decision on Tartt wasn’t surprising since he has been dealing with a groin injury and hasn’t practiced all week.

The Decision on Ward

What comes by surprise is the team’s decision on Ward. He practiced in full on Wednesday and Thursday and his name wasn’t on the one and only injury report.

However, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan, Ward strained his quadriceps in Thursday’s practice, and his MRI came back late Thursday night. It revealed that Ward had a Grade 1 or 1.5 strain, according to Shanahan.

“I don’t think it will be real long, but we know for sure he’s not going to make the trip with us,” Shanahan told ESPN. “And we hope that will help him get a chance to be ready for next week.”

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Who Will Step Up?

Per usual, Shanahan didn’t tell the media his early plan on who he’s starting against the Patriots. But it doesn’t come down to many options considering the Niners are looking very thin at that position. Right now, Marcell Harris and Tarvarius Moore are the only healthy safeties left on the active roster.

“We haven’t decided yet, especially finding out the stuff with Jimmie Ward, but that’s stuff we have got to discuss all the way until 1 tomorrow,” Shanahan said. “We have got a long plane ride here to discuss that. Some things we have got to shuffle around a little bit.”

San Fran does have the option to have veteran Johnathan Cyprien and rookie Jared Mayden on their practice squad who could be elevated to the 53-man roster. It also makes sense since running back Raheem Mostert (ankle) is expected to go on injured reserve by Saturday afternoon.

Other Injury Updates

Niners’ left tackle Trent Williams returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and Friday. He was out on Wednesday dealing with an ankle injury. As of now, he’s still listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, though Shanahan believes he should be ready to go come Sunday.

“He made it through practice today even though it was pretty much half speed, but when you have an ankle like he does and we’re flying like this, I still want to see how he is tomorrow,” Shanahan said. “But hoping he’s going and that’s why we didn’t put him as doubtful.”

Also ruled out on Sunday is linebacker Kwon Alexander and obviously, Mostert. Both are dealing with high ankle sprains. Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. is listed as questionable with a calf strain but should be good to go. Also coming off of a calf strain is cornerback Dontae Johnson but he didn’t miss a session this week and will play.

This Niners team keeps getting knocked down but somehow pulls through and hopefully, they can do it again this week in New England.

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