Healthy Bethea resumes role on 49ers with Tartt in shadows


Healthy Bethea resumes role on 49ers with Tartt in shadows

Jaquiski Tartt started eight games as a rookie after 49ers strong safety Antoine Bethea sustained a season-ending torn pectoral.

Bethea, 31, is back at full strength and lining up with the 49ers’ first-team defense, and Tartt is trying to make an impression on the new coaching staff.

“He’s competing to play at safety right now,” 49ers defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said of Tartt last week. “It’s one of our deeper positions. So whoever doesn’t win the starting job between that group, we’re going to have to find roles for them to do to get them on the field.”

O’Neil did not waste any time in declaring that Jimmie Ward was one of the 49ers’ 11 best players. He came into the NFL as a backup safety and nickel back. Now, the 49ers believe his best way to get onto the field as an every-down player is at cornerback.

Clearly, Tartt has not made the same impression. A year ago, he showed enough promise to open his rookie season with a role on defense when the 49ers utilized six defensive backs. A similar role to open this season appears realistic, too.

[MAIOCCO: 49ers' Reid looks for rise in production, long-term contract]

“Right now I’m focused on finding who are the 11,” O’Neil said. “And then if we have 15 or 16 guys, we’re going to find ways to get them on the field. If a guy has earned the right to play for us, we’re going to find roles for him to do it and get him on the field.”

Bethea is healthy and he appears ready to pick up where he left off as a key member of the 49ers' defense.

He was voted as the 49ers’ team MVP in 2014 before his second season with the 49ers was cut short. Early in 2014, microphones famously captured Bethea calling out some of Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive plays before they occurred. That is nothing new to those who play alongside him.

“It’s his experience,” 49ers free safety Eric Reid said of Bethea. “When you play the game for 10-plus years, I don’t know if there’s anything you haven’t seen.

[MAIOCCO: O'Neil: Ward one of 49ers' top 11 defensive players]

“He sees everything, and he sees it fast. You see a formation, and he’s already calling stuff out. And I’m looking at him, like, ‘All right.’ And then they (the offense) do what he says. He just has that experience.”

That experience has already placed Bethea and Reid ahead of the game in learning O’Neil’s new system.

“Bethea and Eric Reid are very, very smart football players and with this being the fourth time I’ve been a part of an organization installing this system, those guys are further ahead than any other safety group that I’ve been a part of so far,” O’Neil said.

Bethea is an obvious leader on the defense, but knowledge is not his only asset. He still has enthusiasm for the game and appears to be on solid footing to hold off any challenger to his starting job.

“You can’t be a teacher and a mentor at all times,” he said. “I’m still a kid, too. I love to go out there and play. But when it’s time for those guys to come to me and ask questions or if I see somebody doing something that I can give them a pointer or two, that’s when I do that.”

Source: 49ers, Nick Bosa scheduled to meet at Ohio State's Pro Day


Source: 49ers, Nick Bosa scheduled to meet at Ohio State's Pro Day

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 49ers’ traveling party that includes general manager John Lynch and vice president of player personnel Adam Peters has moved on to Ohio State.

Lynch and Peters attended Alabama’s pro day on Tuesday and met with potential No. 2 overall pick Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle.

On Wednesday, the 49ers are scheduled to meet with another possibility for the second overall selection, former Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, according to a source.

The 49ers and Bosa are scheduled to have dinner, reports Albert Breer of the MMQB. But a source has told NBC Sports Bay that the 49ers hope to move the date up to a late lunch.

Bosa is not scheduled to work out on Wednesday. The plan all along was to test well enough at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that any re-dos were not necessary. Bosa's marks ranked favorably against his brother Joey, the No. 3 overall pick in three years ago.

Nick Bosa is completely healthy after his final season at Ohio State was cut short due to a core muscle injury.

[RELATED: 49ers hire Dustin Little as head athletic trainer]

Among the other top draft prospects at Ohio State are quarterback Dwayne Haskins, defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, wide receivers Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, and offensive linemen Michael Jordan and Isaiah Prince.

49ers hire Dustin Little as head athletic trainer, staff revamp continues


49ers hire Dustin Little as head athletic trainer, staff revamp continues

The 49ers named Dustin Little head athletic trainer Tuesday, locking in one of the final pieces of their new strength and conditioning and athletic training structure. 

After 17 players spent time on injured reserve during the 2018 season and 24 players the season prior, the 49ers sought change. The team fired longtime head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson and head of strength and conditioning Ray Wright. 

General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan both identified streamlining the two programs as an offseason priority. 

“It’s about where we want to go, how we can make the overall process of it better,” Shanahan said after the season ended. “Injuries happen, and we’ve looked into that, and we’re going to do everything we can to improve that. We have to, because that has hurt us a lot in the last two years.”

“We consulted with some other teams,” Lynch said a few months ago. “Organizations in some other sports, looking for the right answers, and trying to put our own stamp on it. We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel. We’re just trying to get that deal right."

Hiring Ben Peterson as the head of player health and performance several weeks ago was the first step of that process. Peterson and Little will work together closely, as the 49ers model their structure after the NHL and NBA. 

[RELATED: Football kept Kwon Alexander going after adversity]

“We are excited to add Dustin to our health and performance team and believe he is a tremendous fit for our group,” Lynch said in a statement Tuesday. “A wide net was cast for this search, and we simply kept coming back to him. 

“Our due diligence and a great recommendation from the Broncos organization, which is highly regarded for the care of its players, made us extremely confident in bringing Dustin aboard.”

Little comes to Santa Clara after spending more than five years in Denver in a variety of roles, including as an assistant athletic trainer and director of rehabilitation.