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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmie Ward on what makes Jimmy Garoppolo a 49ers locker room favorite, why he expects to hit free agency

Nov 29, 2022 at 11:30 AM--

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Jimmy Garoppolo is playing some sound football. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback has had his share of critics over the years, but his team has won four consecutive games now and sits alone atop the NFC West. In Week 11, the offense seemed to be firing on all cylinders. Then, in Week 12, the defense took over and shut out the New Orleans Saints.

Garoppolo's popularity inside the 49ers locker room has been well-documented. But what is it about the quarterback that makes him so likable among his teammates?

"Because everybody sees kind of what goes on," 49ers safety Jimmie Ward said Tuesday morning on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "Everybody always hears the outside noise when it comes to Jimmy G. We see the adversity that he has [faced], the perseverance through each year.

"Even over this past year, we noticed, We seen the moves that [general manager] John [Lynch] and [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] make. And when you look at Jimmy, he's just poised. He comes in the locker room, he's the same guy. No matter what, he continues to work. He doesn't pout. He doesn't cry. He doesn't get down on himself. He just continues to work, and he doesn't lose his confidence."

Garoppolo has completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 2,381 yards, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a passer rating of 103.0 through 10 games this season. His passer rating ranks fifth in the league and the quarterback has not thrown an interception that counted—a penalty nullified one on Sunday—since October 23.

"You know who he is as a player," Ward continued. "You know what he can bring to this team. And he's a pretty good quarterback. I want to say people are starting to see that, but at the same time, he has such high expectations, which is crazy. But that's what happens when you're a great player."

Ward expects to hit free agency

Ward is playing in the final year of his contract and expects to hit free agency after this season.

"Yeah, I'm going to free agency, obviously," Ward said. "The 49ers haven't offered me anything."

The defensive back has been playing in the slot despite making it clear that he prefers playing safety. He doesn't necessarily see it as a negative, though. Instead, it's an opportunity for him to show off his versatility and, hopefully, increase his value.

"Just because I'm out here playing nickel at a high level, and last year, I was playing safety at a high level," Ward explained. "They know I can play safety. I can play strong or free. Now I can play nickel. How many safeties can play nickel and safety that can legitimately cover? I'm out here covering number one wide receivers."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Ward below.

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