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Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Hard work by Emmanuel Moseley and Jimmie Ward is paying off, says 49ers GM John Lynch

Oct 18, 2019 at 9:24 AM--

When San Francisco 49ers starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon went down during Week 3, there was so much concern surrounding how the team would respond. Maybe they would be aggressive and pursue Jalen Ramsey, now with the Los Angeles Rams.

The calm and collected 49ers just pushed forward.

They had a lot of faith in second-year cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, and the defender has shown fans why over the past two games.

"He's been awesome," general manager John Lynch said Thursday on KNBR. "[...] When you can develop those types of guys, and they can come in — that's a tough position. There's no hiding at that position, and we had a lot of belief in Moseley because of what he shows us on the field each and every day. But you never quite know until you put him out there, and he's been up to the challenge."

Moseley has been targeted just seven times since entering the game during Week 3, and given up only 28 yards to receivers, according to Pro Football Focus. Opposing quarterbacks own a passer rating of 66.4 when targeting Moseley.

"It's not a huge surprise because he is very talented but more so because of the way he goes about it," Lynch continued. "He's very much a professional. Although he's early in his career, he approaches this thing the right way.

"Every day he's out there working. He stays late, soaks up as much as he can from guys like [Richard Sherman], from his coaches, and it's really neat to see a guy who works that hard, have the success that he's had.

"He'll continue to be tested because Sherm is on the other side, and he's proven, but Moseley's doing a tremendous job for us. Really love his game because he's got speed, but he's also not afraid to mix it up physically. He's really playing well in all facets."

Then you have Jimmie Ward, the often-injured and often-criticized defensive back who head coach Kyle Shanahan praised on Sunday by saying he would wear his jersey if he could. After suffering a broken finger before the start of the season, Ward has played some inspiring football, made fans take notice, and maybe even question some of their doubts surrounding the sixth-year defender.

"Jimmie Ward has been awesome," Lynch said. "He always has been, provided he's been healthy. I think you saw (that) the other day.

"People say, 'Why do you stick with a guy like that?' It's because he's a pretty unique player; a guy that can play that physically, yet when its money time, and the game is on the line, third-and-ones, fourth-and-ones, he's covering Gerald Everett, who's a tough cover at the tight end, and then Cooper Kupp, who I really believe is one of the toughest covers in football, and Jimmie Ward is sticking right with him, and two pass breakups in a row."

Ward's performance against the Rams earned him the game's fourth-highest overall grade (89.8) from Pro Football Focus, behind teammates Dee Ford and Arik Armstead, and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

"It's nice to see Jimmie's hard work be rewarded," Lynch continued. "He's stayed encouraged through a bunch of injuries, and we're hopeful he can stay healthy because when he does, he's an extremely talented and important player for our football team."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.

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