Adrian Colbert

49ers' safety Colbert in concussion protocol

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AP

49ers' safety Colbert in concussion protocol

Rookie free safety Adrian Colbert reported concussion symptoms after the 49ers’ 25-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday.

Colbert is in the NFL’s concussion protocol and must clear the five steps necessary to be cleared to return to practice and play when the 49ers return to action Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Levi’s Stadium.

Wide receiver Aldrick Robinson also sustained a concussion on Sunday and is in the concussion protocol.

Colbert played all 64 defensive snaps, as well as five plays on special teams, against the Titans. Colbert was credited with five tackles and a fumble recovery.

How 49ers' four safeties fit into future plans

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USATSI

How 49ers' four safeties fit into future plans

The 49ers are now starting players who began the season as backups at nearly half of the positions on both sides of the ball.

The team’s reliance on depth, in some cases, has highlighted which positions need to be strengthened in the offseason. But at the two safety spots, it has reinforced to the 49ers how much they like the four players who have seen significant action in those roles.

Here is a look at those four players and how they fit into the club’s plans for next season:

ADRIAN COLBERT
There might be no bigger surprise on the team than Colbert, whom the 49ers first tried out at cornerback and expected him to be little more than a contributor on special teams during the regular season.

A seventh-round draft pick, Colbert was overshadowed by undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome during training camp. Jerome became expendable early in the season due to his lack of size and speed, as well as his inability to carve out a niche on special teams.

Colbert, the team’s second-leading tackler on special teams, has started three recent games at free safety and has been exceptional with 18 tackles and four passes broken up. His big hit, causing a fourth-quarter fumble of DeAndre Hopkins, helped the 49ers clinch last week’s victory over the Houston Texans.

Colbert has size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds), range, aggression and toughness. After undergoing surgery to repair a broken thumb, Colbert insisted on returning to action a week earlier than the 49ers anticipated.

There is also a belief his game will go another level in his second season, as he plays faster with a greater knowledge and comfort level of his responsibilities in the deep middle of the 49ers’ standard cover-3 defense.

The 49ers have Colbert under contract at low levels through the 2020 season. They are allowed to negotiate a extension with him after the 2019 season.

JAQUISKI TARTT
Tartt started the first two games at free safety before moving to strong safety, where he started the next five games before he was forced back to free safety. The 49ers feel comfortable about Tartt’s ability to play either position. He has good coverage skills but his size and physicality probably make him a better fit closer to the line of scrimmage.

Tartt’s season ended in Week 9 with a broken forearm. He was the team’s leading tackler for most of the season with an interception and three passes defended.

The 49ers are allowed to negotiate a multi-year contract with Tartt after this season, and he would appear to be high on their list of priorities to lock up to a contract extension before entering the final year of his deal.

JIMMIE WARD
The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option on Jimmie Ward last offseason, which means he already has a deal in place for 2018. Because he played cornerback last season – and not safety – his one-year price tag for 2018 jumped nearly $3 million from $5.597 million to $8.526 million. Is Ward worth that much money? That's something the 49ers will have to determine. They could get out of the contract before the new league year begins on March 14.

First off, Ward has not proven he can remain healthy. He has been plagued by a variety of injuries. In his first four NFL seasons, he played all 16 games once. He missed a minimum of five games in every other season, including this year when appeared in just seven games before sustaining a fractured forearm.

His scheduled salary for next season is big. But the 49ers have plenty of cap space, and they are required to eventually spend that money. If the dollars allocated to Ward prevents them from acquiring a targeted offensive lineman, wide receiver or pass rusher, then it becomes a problem. But because the 49ers are currently $54.8 million under the cap, which rolls over to next season, that is probably not going to be an issue.

The 49ers could also try to sign Ward to a multiyear contract with an average dollar amount far south of $8.5 million. But the one-year deal for next season allows the 49ers some flexibility because it would be just a one-year commitment and would not have any financial implications beyond the 2018 season.

Another element Ward gives the 49ers is his versatility. He can play cornerback, too. But his best position is free safety. While the 49ers believe he can be a starter-caliber cornerback, they are confident his can be an All-Pro free safety.

With the three players who are under contract for next season – Colbert, Tartt and Ward – there is little doubt each would play and play a lot in 2018. Injuries seem inevitable. But if each remains healthy and available, the presence of three high-caliber safeties would give the defensive coaching staff flexibility to design game plans to best take advantage of matchups.

ERIC REID
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Reid because he is playing this season under the fifth-year option and is scheduled for unrestricted free agency in March. The 49ers like Reid a lot, but they also really like the three aforementioned guys who are already under contract.

When everyone was healthy near the middle of the season, the 49ers settled on Tartt and Ward as the starters and moved Reid to linebacker. Injuries necessitated the move of Reid back to strong safety, where he has found his niche playing close to the line of scrimmage.

The market could determine whether the 49ers bring back Reid. It is uncertain how much – if any – his role in the protest of racial inequality will impact in how other teams assess Reid's free-agent value.

In other words, it is difficult to imagine the 49ers will get into a bidding war for Reid because of the other players they already have at safety. But if the market is soft for Reid, the 49ers would likely welcome him back at the right price.

49ers snap count: Colbert returns to action, plays every snap

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AP

49ers snap count: Colbert returns to action, plays every snap

CHICAGO – Safety Adrian Colbert returned to action Sunday and played every snap after missing just one game after undergoing thumb surgery during the bye week.

Colbert recorded three tackles in the 49ers’ 15-14 victory over the Chicago Bears in a game in which the offense controlled the ball and provided plenty of rest for the defense.

The 36 plays the 49ers defended – 37, including a play nullified by penalty – were the fewest snaps against the 49ers since Oct. 20, 1991, when the Detroit Lions ran 35 plays against the 49ers.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made his first start as a member of the 49ers and completed 26 of 37 passes for 293 yards – the most ever in franchise history for a player making his starting debut.

Garoppolo completed passes to eight different receivers, including Trent Taylor, who was required intravenous fluids after spending most of the evening and morning sick from a case of food poisoning.

Taylor made the most of his 31 snaps on offense with six receptions for 92 yards. Five of his receptions extended drives with successful third-down conversions.

Here is a look at the 49ers’ playing time on offense, defense and special teams:

OFFENSE
(75 plays)
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 75
Running back – Carlos Hyde 50, Kyle Juszczyk 40, Matt Breida 24
Wide receiver – Marquise Goodwin 58, Louis Murphy 42, Trent Taylor 31, Kendrick Bourne 25, Aldrick Robinson 18
Tight end – Garrett Celek 52, George Kittle 27, Logan Paulsen 8
Offensive line – Daniel Kilgore 75, Brandon Fusco 75, Laken Tomlinson 75, Trent Brown 75, Joe Staley 75.

DEFENSE
(37 plays)
Defensive line – Solomon Thomas 29, DeForest Buckner 26, Leger Douzable 23, Earl Mitchell 18, Sheldon Day 15, Elvis Dumervil 14, Ronald Blair 12, Cassius Marsh 11
Linebacker – Reuben Foster 37, Brock Coyle 29, Eli Harold 17
Cornerback – Ahkello Witherspoon 37, Dontae Johnson 32, K’Waun Williams 18, Leon Hall 10, Greg Mabin 5
Safety – Adrian Colbert 37, Eric Reid 37

SPECIAL TEAMS
(23 plays)
Dekoda Watson 15, Marsh 15, Elijah Lee 13, Dexter McCoil 13, Mark Nzeocha 13, Bradley Pinion 12, Victor Bolden 12, Mabin 12, Johnson 11, Robinson 11, Celek 10, Harold 8, Hall 8, Paulsen 8, Kyle Nelson 7, Witherspoon 7, Robbie Gould 6, Darrell Williams 5, Zane Beadles 5, Buckner 5, Colbert 5, Staley 5, Tomlinson 5, Kilgore 5, Fusco 5, Taylor 5, Thomas 5, Reid 4, Coyle 3, Foster 3, Mitchell 3, Breida 2, Dumervil 2, Juszczyk 2, Williams 2, Douzable 1

DID NOT PLAY
QB C.J. Beathard

INACTIVE
RB Jeremy McNichols
DB Antone Exum
LB Pita Taumoepenu
DL Aaron Lynch
OL Tim Barnes
DL D.J. Jones
DL Tank Carradine