San Francisco 49ers radio play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson joined ESPN 1320 on Monday and discussed his view of the team's loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. One of the topics of discussion was the play of defensive back Jimmie Ward.
Following the game, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald swapped jerseys with Ward and wrote the following on it prior to giving it to the 49ers defensive back:
I admire your toughness and grit. You bring it every time we battle. I wish you the best in your career!
Ward was called for a 38-yard pass interference penalty and two holding calls that gave Arizona automatic first downs. "I was just trying to bring energy and bring juice to the defense," Ward said following the game.
Before sharing his view on the play of Ward against the Cardinals, Robinson shared an interesting anecdote. "On the way to the buses, in Pheonix after the game, I stopped to talk to [49ers linebackers coach] Jason Tarver, who's a longtime coach for the 49ers on the defensive side, and we were batting this back and forth," said Robinson. "Again, the defensive coaches were pretty happy. Nobody's happy with the result, but the defensive performance and effort was 17 times beyond what it had been the previous seven games, so that's a good. I said to Jason, 'Jimmie Ward played like a Seahawks defensive back.' Meaning, he was physical. And you're going to get flagged a couple of times. We all see that with Seattle every game. They'll bump you 50 times and they'll take three flags to win the other 47 plays, right? And that's the way Jimmie Ward played to me yesterday.
"So Tarver looked at me and he goes, 'Someday you'll say he played like a 49er defensive back.'"
Then Robinson shared his opinion on how Ward played against the Cardinals. "Jimmie Ward, I thought played well," he said. "They left him alone a lot. You saw the game yesterday. They left him alone on [Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald] a lot. A couple of times on J. J. Nelson. They targeted Fitzgerald 18 times. I can't remember the last time I saw an NFL receiver targeted that many times. Jimmie Ward hung in there and that was, to me, the best game I've seen him play."
You can listen to the entire interview on ESPN 1320.
There is some debate on whether or not Ward had a good game or a bad game against the Cardinals. As already mentioned, while he played physically, his aggressiveness did result in some penalties that hurt the team.
Today, 49ers defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil was asked about Ward's play on Sunday. "We want everybody across the board to be aggressive," he said. "You never want to say, 'Yeah, I'm OK with penalties,' but if guys are being aggressive and you get a penalty, you've got to live through some of that stuff. Where you don't want to get penalties is 3rd-and-long. We had a chance in that game on a 3rd-and-long play where Jimmie had a defensive holding penalty and we have them a first down. We would have been off the field and probably gave our offense the ball at the 50-yard line or in plus territory. So that one hurt. There was another penalty or two where he was doing exactly what he was coached to do. I wouldn't change anything."
When asked if Ward had a good game or a bad game, O'Neil said, "I liked the way he competed."