The NFL season is upon us, and the 49ers are looking to establish themselves as one of the league's elite teams once again.
Their success this season will be due to (in large part) the health and performance of their best players on offense and defense. Those players happen to be their team captains.
Among the seven team captains chosen, one of them will be wearing the infamous "C" on his jersey for the first time in his career.
Veteran safety Jimmie Ward was chosen to be a captain for the first time in his career.
One of, if not the 49ers' best defensive back, Ward has established himself as one of the better safeties in the league in recent years.
Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans explained what led to the decision to name Ward captain.
"With Jimmie, he's really stepped up and done a great job of leading," Ryans said. "And I'm excited for Jimmie to be a captain. The guys love it, everybody loves it when Jimmie brings the team up and he talks to the team. He always has a positive message, always has an encouraging message to the team and our guys feed off of Jimmie's energy that he brings."
Former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh left to take the head coaching job for the New York Jets this offseason. What does the 49ers' new coordinator look for in a leader on the field?
"I think players, first and foremost, lead by what you do on the field. When you're out there, you're doing what you're supposed to be, you're where you're supposed to be, you're accountable to your teammates, and guys look at you as a leader and guys are looking to follow you.”
Ward and the 49ers defense are preparing for what should be a favorable matchup against Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff in Week 1.