SANTA CLARA – Safety Jimmie Ward was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list to open training camp with a hamstring injury, the 49ers announced Friday morning.
Third-year player Jaquiski Tartt, who spent the offseason program learning both safety positions, took over in Ward's spot for the team's first practice of training camp.
General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan stated on Thursday that all of their players were healthy and no players would be headed to PUP or the non-football injury list.
But that was before the 49ers were scheduled to have their conditioning test. Ward sustained the injury on Thursday during the team's conditioning test. The team lists him as "week to week."
“He did it in our conditioning test, which was unfortunate for him and for us, obviously," Shanahan said following the 49ers' first practice of camp. "He tweaked it halfway through it. We don’t think it was a full pull or anything, but we want to be smart and safe with it. You never know with those things how long they’ll take. We don’t think it’s anything too serious, but we want to definitely be safe with it.”
Ward can be activated to begin practice at any time. Ward is also eligible to begin the regular season on the PUP list. Any player who opens the regular season on PUP is ineligible for the first six weeks of the season.
Ward is expected to be one of the key members of the 49ers' defense from the free safety position. His role is dubbed "The Eraser," fellow safety Eric Reid said, because of his role as a playmaker in the secondary. However, one of the major questions about Ward is his ability to remain healthy through the rigors of an NFL season.
Ward missed eight games as a rookie due to a foot injury. Last year, he sat out five games due to a shoulder injury.
I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.
That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.
Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.
That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.
But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).
In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.
One week after center Jeremy Zuttah played his way off the 49ers’ roster in short order, he ended up back with the team that got rid of him to open the offseason.
The Baltimore Ravens on Friday announced the signing of Zuttah, whom the 49ers released on Aug. 9 after acquiring him from the Ravens in a March trade.
The 49ers determined center Daniel Kilgore was clearly better than Zuttah. Moreover, Zuttah he did not demonstrate any promise of being an asset at either of the guard positions.
Zuttah, 31, played the past three seasons with the Ravens after six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Zuttah was named to his first Pro Bowl after last season.
The 49ers originally acquired Zuttah in a swap of sixth-round draft picks. The Ravens received the 49ers’ pick at No. 186 and selected Virginia Tech safety Chuck Clark. The 49ers took over Baltimore’s selection at No. 198 and chose Mississippi defensive tackle D.J. Jones.
The 49ers are confident in Kilgore and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown. However, there is concern at the guard positions.
Brandon Fusco appears to be earning the confidence of the coaching staff at right guard. But left guard remains a concern. Zane Beadles is currently the starter while Joshua Garnett rehabs from arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage. The 49ers are hopeful Garnett will be available for the opening of the regular season.