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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Jimmie Ward shares details of 49ers meeting that led to defensive turnaround

Nov 17, 2021 at 11:55 AM--


It looked like a different San Francisco 49ers defensive on the field Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams, especially compared to the embarrassing performance displayed a week earlier against the Arizona Cardinals. The Niners defense held the potent Rams offense to just 10 points in the primetime shellacking.

Following the home loss to an injury-plagued Cardinals squad and before the latest game, the defensive captains, which includes Ward, got together to figure out how to turn things around. At 3-5, something needed to change for the 49ers' playoff hopes to remain alive.

"We ended up having a meeting with the team captains on defense," safety Jimmie Ward explained on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "I can't really speak too much on the offense. Then, we just gave the players, the younger players, and just everybody else, just our thoughts heading into the game [against the Rams] and heading into the season, where we think we're at right now.

"Basically, what we said is, 'We've just got to continue to grind, just take one game at a time, one day at a time. And if we all work together, then I think we can come away with some wins.'"

Ward said the initial meeting was on Sunday night at the team's hotel and involved defensive lineman Arik Armstead and linebacker Fred Warner.

Ward ended up having a big game. His two interceptions of quarterback Matthew Stafford marked his third and fourth career picks and his first since 2016. Ward returned one of the interceptions for a touchdown.

The 49ers safety also noted how things have changed for him over the years when it comes to being a team leader.

"I noticed that, over the years, since I've been playing in the league, [leadership] definitely matters," Ward said. "I was one of those guys where I didn't feel like I needed any motivational speeches or anything. Now, I'm the guy who has to give them. I noticed it helps.

"And then, it helps too when you hear new voices, and guys that don't talk as much. When the new guys start to step up, that plays a big part in motivation."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Ward below.




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