Coach Jim Tomsula had no comment Friday about a report that 49ers linebackers coach Clancy Pendergast likely would join USC’s staff after the season other than to note that Pendergast currently was in a meeting with the rest of the 49ers assistants.
“We’re fully on board with the St. Louis Rams, and we’ll take care of that stuff next week,” Tomsula said.
The Los Angeles Daily News reported this week that Pendergast, USC’s defensive coordinator in 2013, initially had rebuffed the school but was rethinking a move because of possible changes to the 49ers’ coaching staff. The paper reported Pendergast “probably” would accept the defensive coordinator position.
The 49ers (4-11) have not said what they plan to do after Sunday’s finale against the St. Louis Rams. The team’s chief operating officer, Al Guido, seemed to suggest to CBS sideline reporter Jay Feeley last month that the team underestimated how the offseason roster losses affected the on-field product and that Tomsula would get another chance as a result.
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Even if that’s the case, there could be changes to his staff.
The 49ers’ offense is neck and neck with the Rams’ as far as finishing last in the NFL in yards. Whichever team has fewer yards Sunday likely will finish last. The 49ers’ defense is tied for 28th with the Colts in yards allowed.
Tartt doubtful – Safety Jaquiski Tartt is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game with a knee injury, meaning Jimmie Ward likely will make his first start at strong safety.
“I expect the quarterback to look at me the majority of the time to see if I’m going to give a look away,” Ward said. “Because, you know, it’s my first time playing safety. I’m pretty sure he’ll hear about that. ... And I’m pretty sure they’re going to try me.”
Ward was a safety in high school and college, but the 49ers have used him the last two seasons as a nickel cornerback, a role that will go to Keith Reaser, Tartt said. The 49ers’ only other safeties, Antoine Bethea and L.J. McCray, are on injured reserve.
Defensive lineman Quinton Dial (back) has been ruled out, so rookie Arik Armstead (Pleasant Grove High School) and Tony Jerod-Eddie should get more playing time. Offensive lineman Marcus Martin (concussion) is doubtful, which means Erik Pears probably will play right guard and rookie Trent Brown will make his second consecutive start at right tackle.
For the Rams, running back Todd Gurley is doubtful with a foot injury. He rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown in the teams’ Week 8 meeting.