Alert Follow us at @49erswz until Twitter fixes the issues with our official account.
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

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

Sep 24, 2020 at 8:32 AM--

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 turned down a better offer to remain with the team that drafted him No. 30 overall in 2014.

That meant the return of the same defensive backfield from last season. Of course, the group is without veteran cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) until at least Week 4. That puts a little more pressure on Ward and the rest of the defensive backs. After all, Sherman's presence changes the way offenses attack the 49ers defense.

What is different without the five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time first-team All-Pro in the lineup?

"You've got to be more vocal," Ward explained. "And also, the ball can go anywhere because when Richard Sherman's on the field, really, quarterbacks are scared to throw to his side. If he's not in great shape on a route, quarterbacks still won't throw to his side. It's only a handful of quarterbacks that have actually really tried Richard Sherman. He just has that respect and that presence around the league."

Rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk made his NFL debut on Sunday. Ward had an opportunity to go against the first-round pick during training camp until a hamstring injury sidelined Aiyuk. Ward liked what he saw then, and he liked what he saw on Sunday.

"He has just great hands, focus," Ward said of Aiyuk. "He doesn't talk much. He doesn't talk much at all, but when he does talk, it's meaningful. Just a humble kid, and just a great talent. I can't wait to see him play again."

Aiyuk finished the game against the New York Jets with two receptions for 21 yards. He even hauled in his first NFL catch by robbing teammate Kendrick Bourne of a reception.

"I've seen him make two catches in the game," Ward added. "... But he made something happen with both. He's aggressive. He goes and gets the ball. He attacks the ball. That's one thing I like about him, too."

The 49ers remained on the East Coast between their two games at MetLife Stadium. They are staying and practicing this week at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, and will kick off against the New York Giants on Sunday.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Ward below.

More San Francisco 49ers News

Dre Greenlaw shares how Richard Sherman's absence has impacted the 49ers defense

By David Bonilla
Oct 16, 2020

The San Francisco 49ers secondary has missed Richard Sherman lining up against opposing wide receivers. The veteran cornerback hasn't played since Week 1 as he deals with a calf strain. He won't play this weekend against the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, no one seems really sure when Sherman will be back on the field. The 49ers miss Sherman, who has taken on a leadership role for his younger teammates over the past three seasons. In preparation for Sunday night's game, linebacker Dre Greenlaw sat down (virtually) with Liam McHugh of NBC Sports and shared what Sherman has meant to young players like him and the team as a whole. McHugh asked Greenlaw which teammate has influenced him the most. "You've got to give it to a guy like Sherm," Greenlaw

Read the Full Article

49ers-Patriots Injury Report: Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt ruled out; Trent Williams, Jeff Wilson questionable

By David Bonilla
Oct 23, 2020

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing for their Week 7 contest against the New England Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Starting safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward have been ruled out for Sunday. Tartt is dealing with a groin injury and has not practiced at all this week. Head coach Kyle Shanahan informed reporters that Ward suffered a strained quad during Thursday's practice and didn't dismiss the possibility that the safety could miss multiple games. "It could (be a multi-week injury). They gave it, I think, a 1.5 grade," Shanahan said. "I don't think it would be real long, but we know for sure he's not going to make the trip with us, and we hope that'll help him get a chance to be ready for next

Read the Full Article

Kyle Shanahan not revealing his starting safeties with Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward out vs. Patriots

By David Bonilla
Oct 23, 2020

The San Francisco 49ers will be without both of their starting safeties on Sunday when they travel to Gillette Stadium to play the New England Patriots. Jaquiski Tartt has been dealing with a groin injury all week and has been ruled out. Head coach Kyle Shanahan surprised reporters on Friday with the news that Jimmie Ward suffered an injury during Thursday's practice and also will not play. "He strained his quad in practice yesterday," Shanahan said. "So, we got the MRI back late last night, and he's not going to be able to go this week." The coach was asked if the injury could force Ward to miss multiple games. "It could," Shanahan responded. "They gave it, I think, a 1.5 grade. I don't think it would be real long, but we know for sure he's not

Read the Full Article


More Featured Stories

Trending News

More News
Share 49erswebzone