SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Wilks: Charvarius Ward is playing at ‘All-Pro’ level for 49ers

Dec 22, 2023, 3:52 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm

Charvarius Ward #7 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the field during an NFL football game a...

Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Sometimes it takes a little luck to make a play on the field. Other times it’s all about the film study and the talent. For Charvarius Ward: It was a little bit of everything in Week 15.

The San Francisco 49ers cornerback has hit a new gear in his play since the team’s Bye Week, cumulating in a huge performance against the Arizona Cardinals on the road. Ward finished Week 15 with three combined tackles, two pass break-ups and two interceptions last Sunday. It was the first time the Mississippi native had recorded two picks in a single contest, with his team and national media now starting to give him his flowers at the end of 2023.

“I think he’s now playing at that All-Pro-caliber level. And you saw that and I seen it all year, and you saw it definitely last week with his two picks,” 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said about Charvarius Ward Friday.

Nicknamed “Mooney”, the defensive back was brought to Santa Clara to be the 49ers’ lockdown guy, both on and off the field. Now in Year 2 of a three-year deal, that appears to be the case, leading the NFL in PBUs (22).

One play in particular stood out to Wilks and Co. however, leading to Ward’s first pick-six of his career.

Faced with a fourth down, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray tossed a pass over the middle to tight end Trey McBride. Ward had his eyes on it the whole way though, coming off his spot to jump the route and race pass the home side for a 66-yard score in the first quarter.

That play was made possible by film study and practice, with Ward doing the exact same thing a few days prior during installs. Much to the approval of his defensive coordinator.

“I took that exact same clip that we had in practice, exact same route, the exact same break. And what I always talked to those guys about it’s just how we practice. You know what you do in practice is going to be a reflection of what you do in the game. So he got that rep early. He made that play in practice. And it was just routine when it happened in the game,” Wilks explained.

Charvarius Ward also added a new element to his practice regime prior to Week 15: Catching passes from a real NFL QB.

Mooney explained that he had gone to 49ers backup Sam Darnold for catching drills just days before, hoping to turn those PBUs into INTs. The results were almost instantaneously.

It maybe seem like a small detail in an overarching plan, but success of the future is in the blueprint of the present, with Ward looking to continue to add to the formula from here on out.

“Most definitely,” Wilks stated when asked if Ward initiated catching passes from Darnold. “That’s another area of his growth where he gets extra work and at the practice, it was something that he went to Darnold on his own to be able to get that assistance. So, Sam did a great job last week in preparing him for that.”

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Monday, Dec. 25th vs. Baltimore Ravens – 5:15 p.m. PST
  • Sunday, Dec. 31st @ Washington Commanders – 10:00 a.m. PST
  • Sunday, Jan. 7th vs. Los Angeles Rams – TBD
  • NFL Playoffs (TBD)

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