San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner was tasked with wearing the green dot on his helmet last year. That means he, as a rookie, was in charge of communicating the plays to his 10 teammates on defense. That's a tall order for a first-year player. Warner, however, seemed up to the task and even impressed veterans like cornerback Richard Sherman.

"I think even moments where we don't necessarily get a play call in on time or the offense is hurrying up and kind of catching us off guard, he'll calmly give us a play and bang, we're playing good football," Sherman said in December.

In addition to handling the communication duties for the defense, Warner also led the team with 124 total tackles. Not bad.

Reporters on Sunday wanted to know what head coach Kyle Shanahan thought of Warner's progress and his command of the defense now that his impressive rookie campaign is behind him.

"Fred was pretty unusual as a rookie," Shanahan said. "He had pretty good command very fast, right when he came in. I mean, the first day on the field, you could tell he's a smart guy who pays attention a lot and obviously works by himself when he's away.

"He was really good at it last year, and now it's second nature for him. A lot of guys depend on him out there."

The 49ers have a lot of new faces on defense. Some, like linebacker Kwon Alexander, have more NFL experience compared to Warner. The second-year linebacker, however, looks like a veteran out on the field so sometimes it is easy to forget he is only in his second season. Warner also has something that the new faces don't have — experience within this specific defense and, thanks to last season, experience communicating the plays.

Added Shanahan, "He's speaking, so he's running everything. So it's those guys getting used to him. I think you have to ask the new guys that are here but I think they're pretty excited what they've seen from Fred so far. I mean, he's very confident when he makes the call. He's very clear with how he says it and stuff. He's not at all scared to communicate. He's not scared to be wrong. He'll see what he thinks, and he'll rip it out there."