With Tartt still injured; Backup plan working out well for 49ers

This is a 2021 photo of Tavon Wilson of the San Francisco 49ers NFL football team. This image reflects the 49ers active roster as of Day, May 20, 2021 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)

Ask almost anyone around the NFL what they think of the 49ers’ safety Jaquiski Tartt and you will get a similar answer; He is among the best in the league when he is on the field.

What makes Tartt so impressive is his versatility. Whether playing near the line of scrimmage or deep in coverage, the veteran has the ability to make plays.

While the versatility is easily seen from the stands or on the television set, the area that most sets Tartt apart from other safeties in the league is his football IQ. On the field, Tartt is constantly talking to his teammates and directing them to where they need to line up or alerting them to be ready for what the offensive play will be due to their alignment and tendencies, he picked up on during film study.

The importance of Tartt to the 49ers’ defense was on full display throughout the 2019 season. During that season, Tartt started the first 12 games and the 49ers’ defense allowed only 15.3 points and less than 135 yards passing per game. Tartt would miss the final four games, and during his absence opposing offenses were able to take advantage of the San Francisco defense to the tune of 31.2 points and 274 yards passing per game.


Unfortunately for Tartt and the 49ers, the veteran safety cannot stay healthy. In many ways, Tartt is the Jimmy Garoppolo of the defense, playing in only 36 of San Francisco’s 64 regular season games over the last four seasons.

The veteran missed the final seven games last season after suffering a turf toe injury during a week nine loss to the Green Bay Packers.


A free agent heading into the offseason, San Francisco was able to bring Tartt back on a cheap one-year deal worth $1,127,500 which was far below what the veteran might have expected.


Unfortunately, Tartt has yet to step on the practice field for the 49ers in training camp. Tartt started off camp on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. On Friday he was cleared and subsequently placed on the active physically unable to perform list.


In Tartt’s absence, Tavon Wilson has stepped into the starting lineup.


Wilson spent 2020 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, making only two starts while playing in 15 games, but he has left an impression on new 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.


While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ryans had this to say about Wilson, “I mean, the guy that sticks out to me on our defense right now is Tavon, Tavon Wilson. We talked about him earlier, but Tavon has really been, you know, surprising from the standpoint of just his leadership, his communication, his focus, and his consistent approach daily.”


If Tartt eventually gets back on to the field, this may become a position battle to keep an eye on. Considering his health history though, that may never take place. Fortunately for the 49ers, his replacement appears to be more than capable of doing the job.

This article has 15 Comments

  1. This is the deepest team in the NFL. Their only perceived position of weakness is at cb, and that may not be the weakness we think it is; if reports about Ward’s coverage skill throughout camp are to be believed. He’s the emergency starting cb when you have the kind of safety problem Wilson and Tartt represent….

    1. “may not be the weakness we think it is”

      I hope you are correct. I can say with certainty that there is significant QB and WR talent in our division. We need the young guys to step their game up.

  2. I wouldn’t expect Tartt back. If it is still turf toe keeping him out after all this time, I believe it is a chronic condition. Some people seem to be concerned about Bosa avoiding all contact at practice. There is no reason for concern, just remember Kevin Fagan. After missing his first season with a college ACL injury, he missed almost every camp with a hold out. He would return for the last 2 weeks of practice and play at an outstanding level. He knew if he stayed in shape that as a veteran he didn’t need camp. Bosa will be ready day one.

  3. Tartt just needs to stay healthy for once. I think he will be back for week 1. He needs as much time as he can with the turf toe. It took out the great Patrick Willis out for his career. I don’t think the 49ers are surprised that he is not back yet. Hopefully once he back he can prove himself. Jimmie Ward and Tartt can finally show they a top safety tandem they are ridiculously good when on the field.

  4. Former Raider HC and current Ole Miss HC shows some leadership.

    Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin: “I think it’s irresponsible to not to (get the vaccine.) I realize I’ll be criticized for that but I just do.”

  5. Can’t wait for that first preseason game. It’ll be great to see the guys in a game especially all the quarterbacks.

    1. Just to be clear, approximately 70% of the country already does what Lynch is espousing. There is, however, an intransigent , irrational , unstable 30% to whom these remarks are directed. There are other names for those people as well.

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