I interviewed 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward for an hour this week. Here's what he said about his relationship with strong safety Jaquiski Tartt, who was Ward's teammate in high school.
Ward: "It's cool for somebody else who went through what I went through and is from where I'm from to reach his dream goal, although knowing Jaquiski he probably would want to go pro in basketball and football. He still talks about, 'I'm probably going to get a shot in the NBA.'
"But it's cool having someone to relate to, even though we bump head. It's a challenge. I'll get out of my ways, he'll get out of his ways, we'll think about the s--t that we say, even if it comes out wrong, but when I think about it, he's really trying to make me better.
"Like in the post. Because I played quarters coverage in college, and he played post safety, so he's used to playing free, he's used to knowing how to read the quarterback, but it took me a while. I just realized some of the mistakes I was making at post safety. Like, I was just backpedaling. It's three-step quick game (from the quarterback), and I'm backpedaling five or six yards. Why am I moving? I shouldn't even move. I'd have even more of a kill shot or opportunity to get a tip and an overthrow.
"And it took me to realize what Jaquiski was saying, then I started watching his film. I was tired of watching me. I watch all the safeties in the league. I watched Adrian Colbert, the guy they gave my spot to, and I watched Jaquiski, and I noticed that when they see the quick game, they barely move, and that's why they got to the ball so fast. It took me a while to realize that. I had to learn from my mistakes."
Check out the full interview below.