Jimmie Ward Details the Key to the 49ers Beating Miami

Jimmie Ward, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Jimmie Ward of the San Francisco 49ers flexing.

When the San Francisco 49ers take the field against the Miami Dolphins, it will answer an age-old question that fans have been wondering for years: what would the 49ers’ offense look like against the 49ers’ defense?

Now sure, technically that won’t happen in Week 13, as Mike McDaniel doesn’t run the exact same scheme as his former boss, but seeing Kyle Shanahan‘s former offensive coordinator run an adjacent offense against his defense – and by contrast, seeing Miami’s defense attempt to slow down Shanahan’s offense when they know exactly what’s coming – will tell a lot as to the resilience of San Francisco’s offense and defense moving forward.

Asked about this very situation, Jimmie Ward, the team’s long-tenured defensive back, explained how execution, not schematic supremacy, will decide the game’s ultimate victor, as he detailed to Lindsey Pallares on the 49ers You’ve Got Mail podcast.

“Um, I would say yeah, but at the end of the day, the players make the plays, you know what I’m saying?” Ward asked rhetorically. “So, you know, it’s all gonna come down to who can execute better and longer and who can make the most plays. So I think that’s what it comes down to. They’re probably gonna run a lot of familiar plays but at the same time, they’ve got some guys who move a little different than us. We’ve got guys in that spot who move a little different and play a little different than their guys, so, it’s a different body type, you know? But maybe some of the same routes and this and that but it depends on precision, you know? Going out there and doing it right longer.”

All things considered, Ward is correct, typically in sports, the team that makes the most plays wins more often than not, but even the best scheme can be tested by opposing personnel, and Miami has a very good collection of speedy receivers who can really get down the field in a hurry.

Miami Has 2 Certified Deep Threats Who Can Stretch the Field

No matter how effective the 49ers’ defense has been through the first 12 weeks of the 2022 NFL season, the prospect of slowing down two wide receivers with 4.3 speed who can stretch the field both from the perimeter and deployed from the slot is a challenge few teams are prepared for.

Heading into Week 13, both Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill are averaging at least 85 yards per game, with the former averaging 17.2 yards per reception and the latter clocking in close behind at a respectable 14.2 yards per reception. With the duo already having combined for 2,196 yards with six games left to go, the 49ers’ defensive backfield might just have their toughest challenge yet in a game against a division-leading rival.

The San Francisco 49ers Still Haven’t Offered Ward an Extension

In the lead-up to the Miami game, Ward stopped by KNBR and was asked about his contract situation heading into the spring of 2023, when he will be an unrestricted free agent. His response, transcribed by of Niner Nation, doesn’t paint a pretty picture of a happy future in San Francisco.

“Obviously I’m going to free agency, but…well, yeah, I’m going to free agency. The 49ers haven’t offered me anything but I just feel like [playing nickel corner] just takes my value up,” Ward said. I’m out here playing nickel at a high level, and last year I was playing safety at a high level. 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? Like, I’m out here covering number one wide receivers.”

“At the end of the day, you’re gonna have to consider my name as one of the top players coming to free agency.”

Could War ultimately return if the open market proves less than receptive to his services? Potentially so, but if he ends up jumping to greener pastures, be that to his former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh in New York or even with McDaniel in Miami, at least he gave nine great years in the Bay Area.

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