Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmie Ward displays versatility vs. Chiefs that could benefit 49ers this season

Aug 24, 2019 at 9:42 PM--

Jimmie Ward is in competition with Tarvarius Moore for the San Francisco 49ers' starting free safety job.

Or is he?

Ward took part in his first full practice this week since fracturing his collarbone in May. Then he suited up and showed off his versatility on Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ward played both free safety and nickel cornerback during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium, and finished the night with three tackles and even drew an offensive pass-interference penalty.

Ward played nickel because regular slot man, K'Waun Williams, is out with a knee injury. It's an injury that could run into the regular season so Ward's versatility might be an asset for the 49ers, assuming he can stay healthy himself. He hasn't had much luck in that department in the past. Ward has landed on injured reserve in four of his five NFL seasons.

The 49ers seem impressed with Moore's development at safety after playing him at cornerback during his rookie year. Moore entered the game at free safety when Ward moved to the nickel spot.

After the game, head coach Kyle Shanahan discussed Ward's versatility and play against the Chiefs.

"Jimmie's a football player," Shanahan told reporters. "It doesn't matter whether he's hurt or how long he's been out. When you allow him to go, he's going. He's been that way in practice all week.

"I know we threw him out there today, and I think he was able to play both nickel and free safety. From what I saw, he played pretty well."

Linebacker Kwon Alexander, who made his 49ers debut on Saturday night, was also impressed with Ward.

"Jimmie from [Alabama]," Alexander said after the game. "Bama boys, we ball. I know Jimmie's a dog. He's going to go out there and do his thing. He showed up today."

Shanahan indicated that maybe Ward's role this season, at least at the start, might not be as a safety after all, especially if Williams isn't ready to go for Week 1.

"The good thing about Jimmie, and it's also been a tough thing for him throughout his whole career, he's sometimes the best or second-best player at every single position, depending on what personnel is out there on offense," Shanahan continued. "You've got an option to put him at a lot of places. We definitely want to put him at safety, but we have had some injuries, and his injury opened up some room for Tarvarius. I know those two are competing in that area.

"We're going to have our best guys on the field, and you have a lot of options with Jimmie."

It sure sounds like Shanahan and the coaches might consider utilizing Ward's versatility this season, move him to another position, and let Moore take over the free safety spot.

More San Francisco 49ers News

49ers DB Jimmie Ward not surprised Frank Gore still going strong at age 37

By Kirk Larrabee
Sep 18, 2020

There's probably a number of people who never expected to see New York Jets running back Frank Gore still going strong in the NFL at age 37, but his former teammate Jimmie Ward isn't one of them. Ward is one of three current 49ers players who were on the roster when Gore was last with the team in 2014, with long snapper Kyle Nelson and cornerback Dontae Johnson being the others. Gore was a model of consistency back then, having rushed for over 1,000 yards in eight of nine seasons going back to 2006, and had just wrapped up a season of 1,106 yards and four touchdowns when he and the 49ers didn't come to terms on a new contract after the 2014 season. Gore will face off against his former team when the 49ers face the Jets on Sunday, the second time he's done so

Read the Full Article

49ers' Jimmie Ward discusses the impact of Richard Sherman's absence, Brandon Aiyuk's presence

By David Bonilla
Sep 24, 2020

Jimmie Ward is glad the San Francisco 49ers aren't moving him around from position to position anymore. While he always tried to be a team player, he felt the most comfortable at safety, and that's where he's at now. "I've been playing [safety] since high school," Ward said on Wednesday during a conversation with Damon Bruce, Ray Ratto, and Matt Kolsky on 95.7 The Game. "I ended up figuring out I could play nickel once I got to college, and I guess coaches just, how my body type (is), and how fluent my hips are, they wanted to make me into a corner. But I was real passionate about safety because I just liked the physicality part of just being a safety." The 49ers re-signed Ward to a three-year, $28.5 million deal this offseason. The safety said he

Read the Full Article

49ers could see a lot of Frank Gore this weekend vs. Jets with Le'Veon Bell sidelined

By David Bonilla
Sep 14, 2020

San Francisco 49ers fans could see a lot of a familiar face this weekend when their favorite team takes on the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. That's because running back Le'Veon Bell is expected to miss "a couple of weeks," according to Jets head coach Adam Gase. That could mean the 49ers defense facing a healthy dose of Frank Gore, the Bay Area team's all-time leading rusher and a fan favorite. Le'Veon Bell could be out "a couple weeks," per Adam Gase.— Ralph

Read the Full Article


More Featured Stories

Trending News

More News
Share 49erswebzone