Last week, the San Francisco 49ers front seven played aggressive enough to shut down the passing attack of their opponents. This week, Jimmie Ward is the key to stopping Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
This week the San Francisco 49ers face their biggest challenge of the season as they travel to Charlotte, NC to face the Carolina Panthers.
Last week against the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers defense stifled the run and the pass with a strong presence up front and the ability to force quarterback Case Keenum to remain out of rhythm.
But the Niners will face an entirely different task in Week 2.
Leading the Panthers offense will be reigning MVP quarterback Cam Newton. And the weapons he has on offense will be the reason why third-year 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward needs to be an impact player for San Francisco.
Ward earned a starting gig entering this season, based off his strong 2015 finish.
Speaking of those tests, the Niners defense will have to contend with stellar Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
Benjamin, a 6-foot-5 third-year pro, presents an obvious size problem for the 5-foot-11 Ward. And yet Ward’s coverage abilities may mean the 49ers don’t sway from letting him cover Carolina’s top receiving threat.