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Fred Warner on 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans: “I know what greatness looks like”

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 25, 2022 at 11:40 AM--


In 2021, the San Francisco 49ers had one of the best defenses in the NFL, ranking third in yards allowed per game, fifth in yards per carry, fifth in sacks, and seventh in defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders.

Linebacker Fred Warner echoed that sentiment last week on the Rich Eisen Show, believing that the 49ers' defense will get better in 2022, based on who they returned to the team and the added fire stemming from their loss in the NFC Championship Game in 2021.

"The expectation is to be the best always, to be the No. 1 defense. Last season, I feel like we had a really good year. I don't know what we finished in the rankings for overall defense, but I know we were at the top. I know that, given what we did last year, and who we're bringing back, and the fire that we're bringing back in our bellies knowing that we want to be the best, I know we're only gonna get better."

Football Outsiders agrees with Warner's bold statement, believing that the 49ers will get better in defensive DVOA from 2021, going from -0.7% to -2.7% in their 2022 DVOA projections.

Additionally, Warner shared serious praise towards his second-year defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans, believing that his former linebackers coach shows greatness every day, both as a coach and a person.

"[DeMeco's] the best, he's the best. And I don't just say that just because obviously he's my coach. I know what greatness looks like and he [shows] that every day, not only just as a coach, but as a person. The leadership ability, the teachability that he possesses, and continuing to want to get better as a coach [is shown every day]. [He wants] this group to get better and [pushes] us and [makes] sure that he prepares every single day to make sure he gives us his best self."

During DeMeco Ryans's tenure with the 49ers, the linebacker group has seen significant development as players like Warner, Azeez Al-Shaair, and Dre Greenlaw have gone from mid-round picks or undrafted players to important pieces of the defense.

His work hasn't gone unnoticed, as, earlier this offseason, PFF ranked the 49ers' linebacker unit as the best in the NFL.

"It's hard to overstate Fred Warner's effect on the 49ers' defense in their run to the NFC championship in 2021," wrote PFF's Seth Galina. "Amid replacement-level cornerback and safety play at times, Warner's gravitas over the middle of the field allowed the team to play a high percentage of zone coverage to protect its outside cornerbacks. His elite run-stopping ability was on display against the Packers in the divisional round, too."

"After missing most of the regular season, Dre Greenlaw came back for the end of the regular season and playoffs to form the perfect linebacker tandem with Warner."

Warner, Ryans, and the rest of the 49ers return to football Tuesday when San Francisco begins its training camp phase of the offseason. The first open training camp practice is this Wednesday.



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