Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmie Ward: Garoppolo gives 49ers a ‘great chance’ to beat Packers

Jan 20, 2022 at 11:01 AM--

A lot of people like to criticize Jimmy Garoppolo. He's not the type of quarterback who plays mistake-free football. However, he does win football games—a lot more than he loses. Garoppolo is 37-15 as a starter, counting the playoffs.

Some will argue that often, the 49ers win games despite Garoppolo. This past weekend's playoff win against the Dallas Cowboys is a perfect example of that. Garoppolo tossed a costly interception that kept Dallas in the game, but the team held on for a 23-17 victory.

Garoppolo is banged up, though. He was already playing through an injured right thumb that causes pain with each throw. In addition, Garoppolo suffered a right shoulder sprain in the game. Nevertheless, he's been practicing this week, and all signs point to him playing on Saturday against the Green Bay Packers with a trip to the NFC Championship Game on the line.

Garoppolo's teammates believe in him. They consistently praise their starting quarterback, the leader of the offense. Even the team's defensive players have a lot of faith in Garoppolo. That includes safety Jimmie Ward.

"What I've seen from Jimmy, throughout his whole career, when he's healthy, and he's on the field, he's a winner," Ward told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and Laura Britt this week. "When he was healthy, we went to the Super Bowl. This year, he's healthy, missed a few games, but we're in the playoffs, and got a good chance of winning Saturday. ... He's a competitor, he's accurate, and then we have the run game.

"A lot of people will say, 'Jimmy's not throwing these many balls or not completing this and this.' They start to talk about stats, but at the end of the day, the most important stat is a win and a loss, and I feel like he won more games than he lost."

Three more wins would be nice. After that? Who knows. Most believe the 49ers will transition to Trey Lance after this season. Of course, others feel a deep playoff run might make them second guess that plan.

For now, the Niners will ride with Garoppolo and go as far as the quarterback will take them.

"Like I said, he's a competitor, he's a winner, and I'm glad to have him here as our quarterback right now," Ward continued. "I don't know what the future holds, but I'm happy to go out on the field with him Saturday because I can trust him. And I feel like with him playing quarterback, we have a great chance to win the game."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Ward below. It begins at about the 31:20 mark.

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