Jimmie Ward has walked the walk, and now he gets to talk the talk.
The 49ers' safety has been a consistent, productive playmaker in the secondary for years now. The seven-year veteran has started at least 13 games in each of the two previous seasons, establishing himself as one of the better free safeties in the league.
Upon elevating his game in recent years, Ward earned a three-year contract extension from the 49ers in the spring of 2020.
Ward and the 49ers' defense has held the advantage over the Rams the previous two seasons, winning all four contests and successfully shutting down coach Sean McVay's play-action scheme. But despite the 49ers playing well against the Rams, Ward feels McVay continues to target the 49ers secondary, specifically himself.
"What's with their coach? Does he have the big head or something?" Ward recently told Sports Illustrated's Grant Cohn. "I don't want to say he has the big head because I think he's a hell of a coach, but what does he have against me. Like, what does he have against me to make him go at me every game and lose?"
Ward has a history of success against the Rams, posting some of his best PFF scores throughout his career against McVay's offense.
"If you look at my track record, it's like, 'Damn, this motherf--ker dominated against them," Ward continued.
"I just wish I knew what offensive coordinators think of me. I wonder if they're like, 'Oh yeah, we're going to go at this guy. He doesn't cover as well, doesn't tackle.' I don't think they say that. I just would like to know."
It's always a bad idea to give an opposing player bulletin board material, and for Ward, McVay and the Rams may have done just that.
"I know [McVay] going to try to go at me this year," Ward added. "I've been talking a lot of s--t. I'm pretty sure it's going to get to him, so we'll see. I'll get more balls thrown to me, so I'll get more action. So, if I can back up what I'm talking about now and this whole offseason, hopefully, I'll get paid more money."