Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

‘What’s with their coach?’: 49ers’ Jimmie Ward feels disrespected by Rams’ Sean McVay

Jul 12, 2021 at 7:25 AM--

Does Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay think less of safety Jimmie Ward than he should? The San Francisco 49ers defender appears to believe so. In a conversation with Grant Cohn of Sports Illustrated, the soon-to-be 30-year-old safety feels like McVay unfairly targets him, thinking he can take advantage of the veteran defensive back.

The safety and beat writer remembered a matchup in 2019 when McVay tested Ward's coverage skills with several offensive players, likely thinking he could take advantage of the defender.

"What's with their coach? Does he have the big head or something like (that)?" Ward told Cohn during the lengthy interview. "I don't want to say he has the big head because I think he's a hell of a coach, but what does he have against me. Like, what does he have against me to make him go at me every game and lose? And I don't even talk s--t when we play the Rams. I don't remember me talking s--t, but I've had some good games against them. I don't understand why he tries to go at me. I think I'd try to go at somebody else."

According to Pro Football Focus, two of Ward's three best games last season were against McVay's Rams. One of his best games in 2019 — probably the one the safety is referring to — was a Week 6 matchup in Los Angeles. No game last season saw Ward targeted more than the Week 12 clash between the two teams in Los Angeles during which Ward was targeted eight times. That resulted in just three catches for 16 yards and a passer rating of 45.8 by Jared Goff during those targets.

"If you look at my track record, it's like, 'Damn, this m----r f----r dominated against them (the Rams),'" Ward continued. "I even blocked a punt back in my second or third year. I tipped a punt or something. It's just like, why even go at me? I don't know. Maybe there's film. I don't know.

"I just wish I knew what offensive coordinators think of me. I wonder if they're like, 'Oh yeah, we're going to go at this guy. He doesn't cover as well, doesn't tackle.' I don't think they say that. I just would like to know."

Last year, Ward signed a three-year deal to remain with San Francisco, keeping him with the team through the 2022 season. He's hoping a few more good games against the Rams — along with other opponents — will result in a bigger payday down the road.

Ward has a lot of confidence in himself and feels that, when healthy, he is one of the better safeties in the game. His Pro Football Focus tackling grade of 90.4 last season ranked second among all NFL defenders — at any position.

"I know [McVay] going to try to go at me this year," Ward added. "I've been talking a lot of s--t. I'm pretty sure it's going to get to him, so we'll see. I'll get more balls thrown to me, so I'll get more action. So, if I can back up what I'm talking about now and this whole offseason, hopefully, I'll get paid more money."

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