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The 49ers’ defense took a few blows on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, losing Jaquiski Tartt to a rib fracture (day-to-day), Richard Sherman to a knee sprain (day-to-day), D.J. Jones to an ankle sprain (day-to-day) and Jullian Taylor with an elbow ligament injury (multiple weeks). In light of those injuries, they’ve made two fairly predictable moves, signing veteran defensive back Antone Exum Jr. and opening defensive lineman Kentavius Street’s three-week practice window.

Kicker Chase McLaughlin was cut on Tuesday to make way for Exum, who made the final roster but was later cut and played in the first three games of the season. He is now behind Marcell Harris — the player he beat out in camp — for the starting strong safety spot if Tartt can’t go.

Street’s return window gives the 49ers flexibility with Jones and Taylor’s injuries. If Dee Ford (hamstring/quad, day-to-day) returns, it could see just one additional roster move made with Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas used back on the interior more frequently. However, if Ford is out, the 49ers will likely need to make two roster moves, one of which would likely be placing Taylor on injured reserve and making a roster cut (possibly at the tight end position, where there are currently four active players).

According to Matt Barrows of The Athletic, Ford was active in practice for the 49ers on Wednesday.

Matt Barrows

Dee Ford is in uniform, appears to be practicing today. #49ers

2:26 AM – Dec 5, 2019
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The move allows the 49ers to assess Street and the rest of the defensive line’s health before making an additional move. If Street isn’t ready, it would more than likely be practice squad candidate Kevin Givens who gets promoted to the active roster (again, with Taylor the most likely roster casualty, going to injured reserve).

The following is from the 49ers:

The San Francisco 49ers today announced they have signed DB Antone Exum Jr. to a one-year deal. The team also opened the practice window for DL Kentavius Street, who was placed on the Injured Reserve List on September 1, 2019.

Exum Jr. (6-0, 219) appeared in the first three games of the 2019 season with the 49ers and registered two tackles on special teams prior to being released on October 2, 2019.

A 28-year-old native of Glen Allen, VA, Exum Jr. attended Virginia Tech where he appeared 44 games (35 starts), including starts in the final 30 games he in which he played. He finished his career with 186 tackles, 36 passes defensed, six interceptions, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 1.5 sacks and earned All-ACC honors two times (Honorable Mention – 2011 & Second-Team – 2012).

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The injury glut across the 49ers defense appears to be easing. While the defensive line is still without many of its key players for the remainder of the season (Ronald Blair III, D.J. Jones, Damontre Moore) and without Dee Ford for the remaining regular season, the issues in the secondary will be lessened this week.

Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams back in action
After a game in which the defense fell apart late and was shredded by the ole reliable Matt Ryan-to-Julio Jones combination (20 targets, 13 receptions, 134 yards, 2 TD), the sight of K’Waun Williams and Richard Sherman back on the 49ers’ practice field on Tuesday was likely a welcome sight.

Jake Hutchinson
Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams at #49ers practice today, just walkthroughs. Jullian Taylor, Jaquiski Tartt, Dee Ford all out

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5:29 AM – Dec 18, 2019
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Williams, who is out of concussion protocol, was seen heading a soccer ball in the locker room before practice and will be in line to play Saturday against the Rams. He’s been the glue in the secondary all season long, and without him, D.J. Reed was thrust into a start against Jones, which, as all were witness to, did not go well.

Sherman told reporters he could have played last week if it was necessary, but understood the training staff sought to protect him. Kyle Shanahan didn’t say he was 100 percent to play, and that Wednesday will be the day to test Sherman in more of a game-like setting.

“We’ll see out there, Sherm’s been better since he got in the locker room in New Orleans according to him and because he has that mindset, it’s what gives him a chance to be better,” Shanahan said. “So trainers feel good about him going out there today, it’ll be a walkthrough, so we’ll be able to test that a little bit more tomorrow.”

The one obvious absence from that returning duo is Jaquiski Tartt, who is still dealing with a broken rib. There is a possibility he could practice on Wednesday. Jullian Taylor, with a right elbow ligament issue, was also out of practice, but was seen doing some sideline work.

“Just day-to-day, I’m just waiting on his ribs to recover,” Shanahan said. “It feels a lot closer than last week, but not good enough to go today. He’ll have a chance tomorrow.”

A Kwon Alexander return?
When Kwon Alexander tore his right pectoral against the Arizona Cardinals on October 31, it seemed all but certain his season was over. In all likelihood, it is. But because the 49ers will be in the playoffs and injured reserve players are eligible to return in the playoffs, there is still a chance, as infinitesimal as it may be, that he returns.

Shanahan said he was ready for questions about Alexander after Kendrick Bourne had posted a video of Alexander catching passes on his Instagram story with the caption, “Kwon said he comin back this year.”

Kwon Alexander is back on the practice field doing side work.

Note on Kendrick Bourne’s IG story: “Kwon said he comin back this year”

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“It’d be awesome if he could, but I mean, it’s a really big injury. That would be down the road, so it would be an outside chance at it but we haven’t ruled it out,” Shanahan said. “Kwon, same as Sherman. Kwon thought he could have come back the next week. They’re made of the right stuff, you think that way, it’s your mind, sometimes your body will follow, so we won’t rule it out, but that’s a long shot and it’s not anytime soon.”

Other notes: Suggs waiver claim and lack of sacks
It was reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the 49ers were one of four teams to have put a waiver claim in for the recently released Terrell Suggs. Shanahan acknowledged that was true, saying, “We just thought he would help us, a good pass rusher out there who’s a vet. Could help a lot of teams and we would’ve definitely preferred for him to help us over people we have to go against.”
In the past four weeks, the 49ers’ defense has forced just one turnover in each game. In the last three weeks, they’ve had just three sacks. The last time the team had an interception was in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. Sure, the opponents have been far tougher in recent weeks than at the start of the season, but the attrition and injury issues on the defensive side of the ball have been a clear cause of the downturn. While Shanahan declined to place the blame on injuries, he acknowledged they’re a factor.
“Anytime you miss people it definitely gets harder,” Shanahan said. “But, as every single person says when someone asks them that question, it’s not an excuse, it doesn’t put that in the win-loss column. The more we have had people out, I think the chances of turnovers does go down, but if we want to win we’ve got to find ways to create them and hopefully our guys can get going and create some more. If not, we’ve got to do something schematically, but it’s tough to win when you don’t get turnovers and we’ve got to make sure we find a way to do it.”

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After the 49ers’ top three available pass rushers had played an inordinate amount of snaps in their previous three games, their workload was lightened in Saturday’s 34-31 win over the Rams.

Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner all played 73% of the snaps (51 of 70). They had combined to play 89.5% of the snaps in the previous three weeks.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers had strayed from their plan to keep the three fresh but tried to do so Saturday.

“We haven’t done what we’ve anticipated going into the games the last couple of weeks, and it’s always tough to get those guys off the field because of how good of players they are,” Shanahan said. “We haven’t done that well enough the last two weeks, so we wanted to do better this week. We did. And I think it paid off. We survived those downs and the guys stayed fresher.”

The 49ers might have survived those downs, but the reserves didn’t necessarily flourish: Solomon Thomas, Sheldon Day, Kentavius Street and Jeremiah Voloaga had just one quarterback pressure on 81 pass-rush snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

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On Monday, the 49ers waived Voloaga, an edge rusher, and signed pass rusher Anthony Zettel.

Zettel, 27, a 2016 sixth-round pick of the Lions, spent two seasons in Detroit with 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Zettel has 75 tackles and 7.5 sacks in a 48-game, 16-start career that included stops with the Browns and Bengals. He was waived by Cincinnati on Dec. 17 after he had five tackles in four games.


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Voloaga played 44 snaps and had two tackles and a pass breakup in four games after he was promoted from the practice squad.

The 49ers don’t expect Pro Bowl pass rusher Dee Ford (hamstring) to return until the playoffs.

Status quo at corner: Ahkello Witherspoon’s forgettable performance won’t prompt a lineup change.

Shanahan said there was no consideration to start backup Emmanuel Moseley after Witherspoon was beaten for two touchdown receptions Saturday. Witherspoon was in coverage on wide receiver Brandin Cooks’ 10-yard scoring grab on the game-opening drive before he lost wideout Cooper Kupp on a crossing route in the third quarter. Kupp caught his 22-yard score at the 8-yard line and cruised into the end zone untouched.

“I think he’ll play better next week,” Shanahan said. “… I saw him this morning — he wasn’t happy with how he played. He knows he could play better. I feel very confident with him recognizing that, even before we watched the tape. I know he’ll come out firing next week and be ready to redeem himself.”

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SANTA CLARA — Name it and Arik Armstead has already experienced most of what he’ll face Sunday night in Seattle. The crowd noise. The Marshawn Lynch runs. The Russell Wilson escapes.

Armstead is in his fifth and best season as a 49ers defensive lineman. This Sunday night’s visit, he’d like to experience his first win in Seattle, one that would give the 49ers (12-3) the NFC playoffs’ No. 1 seed and their first NFC West title since 2012.

“Seattle is loud and crazy and I love playing up there,” Armstead said. “It’s a big game, a hyped-up crowd and what you live for — to play in games like this.”

Armstead, a Pro Bowl snub and alternate, had 1½ sacks the last time the 49ers played the Seahawks, a Nov. 11 overtime battle that Seattle won 27-24.

All due respect to the trumpeted return of Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, but Armstead and the 49ers’ primary concern in this rematch is sacking, pressuring and simply defending Russell Wilson.

“Everybody knows the challenge he brings, from a mobility and passing standpoint,” Armstead said.

After racking up a career-high 10 sacks through November, Armstead is in the midst of a four-game drought, a stretch in which every game has come down to the final seconds.

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Sacks never define a defender’s worth, and Armstead is a consistent factor, including against the run. He and rookie star Nick Bosa each have played 716 snaps (75%) while DeForest Buckner leads linemen with 748; that trio was rotated out more in Saturday night’s win over the Los Angeles Rams, so look for a fresher line Sunday night.

Armstead is one of only three 49ers defenders who faced Lynch when he took his last snaps for Seattle in 2015. Armstead said of Lynch’s surprise encore: “Marshawn’s a great back and everyone is eager to see what he can do after his break. We’ll go in with the same mentality.”

Warner on Lynch

Linebacker Fred Warner echoed Armstead’s stance, saying the 49ers must stop the run and force Wilson into third-and-long situations. Lynch was on the Raiders’ injured reserve list by the time the 49ers got to play him last season, to which Warner called an “unfortunate” circumstance because “to be the best you want to beat the best.”

That prompted a reporter to ask Warner if he recalled Lynch’s “Beast Quake” touchdown run in the 2010 Seahawks’ playoff opener. Mind you, Warner was in eighth grade back then, but he respectfully responded: “Dude is a beast, to say the least.”

Warner, 23, is well aware the Seahawks could mix Lynch, 33, with Travis Homer or Robert Turbin to fill in after Sunday’s season-ending injuries to Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise. Said Warner: “We’ve got to make sure we’re prepared for whoever carries the rock, and that we’re assignment sound.”

Tomlinson on Seattle

Left guard Laken Tomlinson is no stranger to Seattle’s deafening stadium. He played there as a 2015 Detroit Lions rookie, he made his 49ers starting debut there in 2017 and he remained winless in Seattle when the 49ers fell last year 43-16. CenturyLink Field was also the sight of Tomlinson’s only career playoff game, a 26-6 wild-card loss on the 2016 Lions.

“They have a reputation for being very loud, and that’s their home-field advantage,” Tomlinson said. “Our job is to eliminate that advantage and do what we do.”

Tomlinson is the only 49er on offense or defense to have played 100 percent of his unit’s snaps. When the 49ers fell to the Seahawks last month, offensive tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey were out with leg injuries, and, although they’re primed for Sunday’s rematch, the line is still adjusting without center Weston Richburg.

Ben Garland will make his third straight start, and it’s unclear yet if Mike Person will return to right guard after a neck injury kept him out last game, prompting Daniel Brunskill’s first start there. “Communication is the key,” Tomlinson said. “Ben has been doing a phenomenal job of it and directing everyone.”

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The 49ers won’t quite have a full stable of offensive weapons when they face the Ravens on Sunday in Baltimore. Left tackle Joe Staley and running back Matt Breida are officially out after being listed among the team’s seven inactives. Staley and Breida were both listed as questionable on the official injury report.

Here’s the full list of inactives:

QB C.J. Beathard
WR Dante Pettis
RB Matt Breida
LT Joe Staley
TE Levine Toilolo
DE Dee Ford
K Chase McLaughlin

Daniel Brunskill will start for Staley at left tackle after Justin Skule struggled against the Packers. Brunskill replaced him in the third quarter and played well. Skule will be the swing tackle Sunday.

It stands to reason that Breida will return next week in New Orlean where the team will play indoors. Heavy rain is coming down in Baltimore, which doesn’t make for great conditions for a running back returning from an ankle injury. He’s been out since re-aggravating an ankle injury vs. Seattle.

McLaughlin is inactive for the first time since signing with the club after Halloween. Robbie Gould is back from a quad injury he sustained in practice leading up to Week 10.

Pettis and Ford were both ruled out Friday when the injury report for Sunday was released.

Here are Baltimore’s inactives:

QB Trace McSorley
WR Jaleel Scott
S Bennett Jackson
CB Anthony Averett
CB Iman Marshall
OG Ben Powers
OT Zach Sieler

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Mike McGlinchey probably felt as if he had no other choice but to play quarterback.

After all, it was the family way. And he had a terrific role model in his first cousin, Matt Ryan.

In 2008, McGlinchey attended the NFL draft along with his family at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Ryan was the No. 3 overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons. And Matt’s older brother, Michael, said something that got McGlinchey to start thinking about shifting his focus.

“He knew I had that little pipe dream of playing quarterback,” McGlinchey said on The 49ers Insider Podcast of cousin Michael. “We met Jake Long, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft that year. He said, ‘If you do what you need to do, in 10 years, you’re going to look like that.’

“My cousin called the right shot. I put my hand in the dirt, and it worked out from there.”

Ten years later, the 49ers selected McGlinchey with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft after he started 39 games and was a team captain at Notre Dame. McGlinchey has appeared in 25 games with the 49ers, all as the team’s starting right tackle.

On Sunday, for the first time, McGlinchey, 24, and Ryan, 34, will be playing in the same game when the Falcons visit Levi’s Stadium.

McGlinchey will be hosting a lot of the family, who will come to Santa Clara for what amounts to a family reunion. He comes from a football family that has produced more than a handful of college athletes, including four Division I players. McGlinchey is the only non-quarterback of the group.

“I’m excited for my family to come out and see everybody and hopefully get some bragging rights,” McGlinchey said.

McGlinchey did not always play offensive tackle. At William Penn Charter in Philadelphia, where Ryan also attended high school, McGlinchey did a little bit of everything, including playing tight end.

After Ryan already was in the NFL, during the annual family summer stay in North Wildwood, New Jersey, McGlinchey ran routes and caught passes from his famous cousin at Bill Henfey Park.

“I was his tight end for the day because I was in high school at the time,” McGlinchey said. “He was sailing balls over my head and I asked him what he was doing. And he was like, ‘That’s where Julio (Jones) goes up and gets it.’ And I said, ‘Well, OK, that’s not me.’”

McGlinchey credits Matt Ryan for setting the standard he would try to attain for himself. He watched him closely — on and off the field — when the family would attend Ryan’s games at Boston College.

“Matt helped me out, whether he knew he was or not,” McGlinchey said, “and it was by me being a little kid and watching him from afar, and adopting the way he talked to his teammates, the way you see him compete, the way you see him have fun on the field. That’s who I wanted to be. It turned out I was the offensive lineman instead of the quarterback, but I try to be that in my own way now that I’m a pro, as well.”

McGlinchey carries himself in a manner that impressed 49ers general manager John Lynch before the 2018 draft. Lynch later said that McGlinchey was one of the three most impressive prospects he interviewed that year. The others were safety Derwin James and running back Sony Michel.

Last week in Florida while the 49ers were preparing to face the New Orleans Saints, veteran left tackle Joe Staley referred to McGlinchey as “president” in front of a group of reporters. McGlinchey carries himself in a stately manner.

[RELATED: Injuries continue to pile up for 49ers after extended trip]

“I think it’s because of Matt,” McGlinchey said. “If you hear Matt talk, and you hear the way he talks to people and approaches people, I don’t know if there’s anybody better. He’s been that way for as long as I’ve been watching him. I can recall that kind of stuff happening and him interacting with people — coaches, him and his dad talking to coaches, talking to fans — when we were up at BC. I was in fourth or fifth grade at the time, and that stuck with me.

“Matt’s a hell of a leader. He’s a hell of a competitor … I’ve always tried to emulate him from the time I was 9 years old watching him at BC”

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After a nail-biting 20-17 loss to the Ravens on Sunday, the 49ers need some help Monday night to stay in the driver’s seat in the NFC.

Now, at 10-2, the 49ers are just a half-game ahead of the Seahawks for first place in the NFC West with Seattle owning the tiebreaker via their Week 10 overtime win over the Niners at Levi’s Stadium.

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will host the 8-3 Vikings on “Monday Night Football,” and a win would move Seattle into the No. 2 seed in the NFC and bump the 49ers down to the No. 5 seed. The 10-2 Saints would take over the No. 1 seed by virtue of beating the Seahawks in Week 3.

A win by the Seahawks on Monday would make the stakes for the 49ers’ Week 14 game against the Saints even larger, as the Niners can’t afford to drop two games behind the Saints for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

The Vikings have played good football of late, but quarterback Kirk Cousins tends to struggle in primetime games. The 49ers need Cousins to shed his bright light demons and deliver a win for the Vikings on Monday.

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The Seattle Seahawks’ offense will look a lot different than the unit that faced the 49ers in Week 10.

Seattle no longer has its top three running backs. The re-signing of veteran Marshawn Lynch has generated a lot of attention this week.

The 49ers travel to face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night in a game that will determine the winner of the NFC West. For the 49ers, a victory also wraps up homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

The 49ers will also look different on offense from the team that fell to the Seahawks, 27-24 in overtime, on Nov. 11 at Levi’s Stadium.

Tight end George Kittle was not available to face the Seahawks due to knee and ankle injuries he sustained in the previous game against the Arizona Cardinals.

“He’s a great player,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Kittle on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Any time you don’t have a great player, you miss him and in some regards, you can’t replace that guy.”

A portion of Carroll’s conference call can be heard on the latest edition of The 49ers Insider Podcast, along with conversations with 49ers running back Raheem Mostert and defensive tackle Sheldon Day.

Not only is Kittle the 49ers’ best offensive player, Carroll believes he is the best player on the team. Period.

“We won’t be able to play them the way we did last time,” Carroll said. “We’re going to have to do things much differently because he’s in the game.

“He’s the top player on the team. He’s everything. So they can build the whole game around him and count on him and all that. He has grown in the years we’ve been here and watched him. He’s just become an extraordinary player and performer.”

Veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders was not much of a factor in the earlier matchup against the Seahawks, either. He sustained a fracture to his ribs after a 12-yard reception early in the game on a hit from Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald. Sanders played only 24 snaps in that game.

Since that week, the 49ers have gone through some changes with their run game, too. Mostert has emerged as the team’s top running back ahead of Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. Mostert carried six times for 28 yards against the Seahawks last month.

In the past four games, Mostert has averaged 80.5 yards rushing per game. He has scored a touchdown in the 49ers’ past five games. The 49ers have three running backs with more than 500 yards. Mostert leads the 49ers with 715 yards rushing. Breida has 607 rushing yards, while Coleman has gained 533.

[RELATED: Why Jimmy G believes he’s ready for ‘hostile’ Seahawks fans]

“He’s taken advantage of a really good run scheme that coach (Kyle) Shanahan puts out there,” Carroll said of Mostert. “He’s a really fast kid and he uses his speed when they run the edge, and when you give him a crack, he can really go.

“All of their guys are good.”

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The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl; it might just happen again, and with the way some 49ers were talking about Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Ravens, it sounds like they want it to. Only Joe Staley and Garrett Celek remain from that 2013 Super Bowl season, and both teams, aside from John Harbaugh, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who’s switched sides, have been overhauled.

But Sunday’s game had the energy of a Goliath-vs-Goliath matchup, with two teams running the ball down the other’s throat in the rain to see who’d blink first.

“I definitely think later on down the season, we’ll see them again,” linebacker Dre Greenlaw told KNBR. “I mean we’re only gonna get better, we’re gonna learn from our mistakes and we know they’re a great team. So, we’re going to continue to push and we definitely hope we see them later down in the Super Bowl.”

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said the game had a playoff atmosphere, and tackle Mike McGlinchey said “… we would love to see that team again… we definitely want to have another shot.”

The 49ers ran for 174 yards. The Ravens ran for 178 yards. Yet, for all the talk of it being about stopping Lamar Jackson (and it was), the result came down to the least sexy topic in football: kicking.

You could blame the loss on Jimmy Garoppolo’s early fumble, but that would be ignoring the fact that Jackson had one of his own, which kept the 49ers in the game. A more reasonable area of blame is the failed 4th-and-1 pass call the 49ers ran which was tipped at the line of scrimmage, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said he didn’t see a great option to run the ball with how the Ravens stacked the line of scrimmage.

What was damning, though, was that the real lack of option to attempt a field goal. At the Ravens’ 35-yard line, it would have been a 53-yard field goal attempt. I asked Shanahan whether a field goal attempt was an option from that range.

“No,” Shanahan said. “It was pretty far.”

True, conditions were far from ideal. That was admitted by the Ravens’ Justin Tucker, who knocked through a game-winning 49-yarder, unlike the 49ers’ Robbie Gould, whose 49-yarder at the end of the first half was blocked.

“Yes, the weather conditions were not ideal throughout the game,” Tucker said. “This is already a tough place to make kicks.”

But Shanahan also said Gould was fully healthy, and that he didn’t believe his range was affected by injury, though it may have been affected by the weather. After being out three weeks with a hamstring injury, he practiced fully all of this week.

The problem is straightforward; the 49ers are limited in their options when it comes to any potential field goal beyond 40 yards, and with long snapper Kyle Nelson back, there is no longer an excuse for a lack of familiarity with the snapping battery.

As much as the Ravens love to go for it on fourth down, sometimes they need a long field goal. And when they do, Tucker (22-of-23 on the year) is almost always there.

Simply put, Tucker could be easily argued as the best kicker in the NFL. Gould could be argued as the worst kicker in the NFL this season.

Gould has missed all three of his attempts from 50-plus yards, is 2-of-4 from the 40-to-49-yard range, and at 14-of-22 on the season. His 63.6 field goal make percentage is the worst in the league (min. 14 attempts).

His longest made field goal on the season is from 47 yards. Only three kickers in the league have a season-long which is below that, and they’ve all taken 14 field goal attempts or less. Only two, Aldrick Rosas and Ryan Succop, are actively playing.

Now, this an unpredictable regression from Gould. In his worst seasons prior to this one, he was 21-of-27 (77.8 percent in 2005) and 9-of-12 (75 percent in 2014). His career-long was 58 yards in 2013, but his limited attempts from 50-plus yards prior to this season were generally good (29-of-37 or 78.4 percent).

But his season-long was 53 yards last year, and now he’s not even consistent from closer than that.

The 49ers’ other place kicker, rookie Chase McLaughlin, is 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) on the season with a season-long of 50 yards. I’m not advocating for him to replace Gould, and he missed that potential game-winner against the Seattle Seahawks badly, but his numbers, on not much smaller of a sample size than Gould’s, are better.

Yet Gould and Tucker are the top-two highest-paid kickers in the league, both in guaranteed salary and yearly average, per Over the Cap.

Gould is making nearly $5 million, all of which is guaranteed for this season and the next one, meaning cutting him isn’t a fantastic option. And while they’re paying that much, they’d be happy with even serviceable performances. Gould, whose hallmark is consistency, hasn’t provided that.

The 49ers clearly had the talent to beat the Ravens on Sunday, and having seen Jackson in person and on away ground, it would seem to give them an advantage (assuming, the unassumable, that they’d stay healthy) in a rematch. They have proven that they can contend with any team in the NFL and both of their losses were by three points.

Three points.

If these two teams match up yet again in February, down in the humidity of Miami, Florida, it may well be a those fine margins which decide the game. And if it comes down to that, one field goal going right, the 49ers could find themselves at a serious disadvantage.

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Deebo Samuel scored 27 touchdowns in college, in three different ways. He had 16 TDs as a receiver, seven as a rusher and four as a kick returner over his four years at the University of South Carolina.

As a rookie, Samuel is bringing that same versatility to the 49ers. He now has five total touchdowns — three as a receiver, two as a rusher — and even scored a two-point conversion.

While he’s finding his way into the end zone, Samuel is making many tacklers miss along the way. The 23-year-old has forced 20 combined missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, which leads all wide receivers.

Deebo Samuel has forced 20 combined missed tackles as a runner and a receiver. No other wide receiver has more.

— PFF SF 49ers (@PFF_49ers) December 23, 2019
Samuel finished Saturday’s 34-31 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday with 59 total yards and one touchdown. He had four receptions for 31 yards and three carries for 28 more yards, scoring a 19-yard touchdown on the ground.

Deebo to the

— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) December 22, 2019
[RELATED: How Bosa made PFF history in 49ers’ win over the Rams]

Samuel has proved to be a great weapon in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. The rookie already has 700 yards receiving and 126 rushing through 14 games, and he has turned into a more reliable option for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

He might not be full of experience yet, but would-be tacklers beg to differ. Samuel clearly is a difference-maker for the 49ers.