The San Francisco 49ers were on a mission to bolster their secondary during the offseason, and with the addition of Charvarius Ward (Mooney Ward) via free agency, the team has done that and so much more. With Emmanuel Moseley out for the season, Ward is the most experienced cornerback on San Francisco's active roster, and he's been playing lights out through these first five weeks of the regular season.
"He's been everything that we could have hoped for," defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said. "He's come out, and he's competed every day. He's challenged guys to become better."
San Francisco signed the veteran cornerback to a three-year deal in March, and early returns from Ward have been incredibly promising. In this first portion of the year, Ward has racked up seven passes defensed, 18 total tackles and an interception. His best outing came Iast week against the Carolina Panthers. In that game, No. 7 recorded four pass breakups and allowed just two receptions on his seven targets, holding the opposition to a 47.3 passer rating.
"I think he's never out of control," head coach Kyle Shanahan said when asked about Ward's seven PBUs. "He's not a guy who misses very much. He's patient with his hands, patient with his feet, always seems on top of guys and has the speed and length to recover too when he is not."
"DeMeco allows me to play free," Ward said when asked about his early success with the 49ers. "He allows me to be myself on the field—be aggressive, play man-to-man. He allows me to do my thing."
Ward wasn't exactly a household name when he first came to the 49ers, but given his elevated level of play week in and week out, the recognition is sure to come.
"I want to prove that I'm one of the best corners in the league," Ward said. "I'm tired of flying under the radar. I feel like I have some of the best coverage skills in the NFL."
"We've had the injuries this year, but we have some rookies who got experience last year," Shanahan said. "We also brought in a couple of guys and I like our draft picks too, so we got some more depth, which helps."
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