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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Dre Greenlaw recovering from finger procedure, hopes to be a more involved blitzer under Steve Wilks

May 25, 2023 at 2:42 PM--

Dre Greenlaw underwent a minor procedure after last season on his finger. The San Francisco 49ers linebacker is still working his way through the recovery process. That's why he's not with his teammates during organized team activities (OTAs).

"Yeah, nothing major," Greenlaw said Thursday on KNBR's Papa & Lund show. "Just a little clean up in the thumb. [It] was giving me some problems, just whenever I was punching at the ball or whenever I had to use my hands on O-linemen. [My] finger was just really jammed up, so I just had to get it cleaned up and fixed.

"It's going really well right now, so I'm just waiting, I guess. Now, I think they're going to keep me out of OTAs for the most part, just because you don't want any setbacks right now. But it's going really well."

Once healthy, Greenlaw expects to hit the practice field and absorb everything his new defensive coordinator, Steve Wilks, has to teach him. Wilks is the linebacker's third defensive coordinator since the 49ers made him a fifth-round draft pick in 2019.

Greenlaw only has two career sacks, the last of which came in 2020. Does he expect to be more involved as a blitzer on Wilks' defense?

"I do hope so," Greenlaw said. "I talked to him as well, and just based off what we've been doing, there's going to be a lot of ways that he's going to be able to just match us up on running backs. And whether he's calling it, whether we're hug-rushing the running back, or whatever it is that he's calling, but he's definitely going to be sending us a lot more.

"So that should be fun. So hopefully, we can get some more sacks this year, for sure."

Wilks replaces DeMeco Ryans, who left to be the head coach of the Houston Texans. While the new defensive coordinator is expected to tweak things to his liking, no one expects massive changes on the horizon. After all, the 49ers owned the top-ranked defense in the NFL last season.

"It's not like he wants to change a lot of things," Greenlaw said. "He loves the way that we play, the will of the way that we play, and the scheme that we had last year. I think it's going to be awesome for him to just mix his own [style] in there and make us more aggressive in different situations, and that's just going to be fun to add to the pot.

"So, it's been a great change so far. As far as just him, just being himself, being a great leader that he is. It's going to be fun to work with him."

The 49ers added Javon Hargrave to the defensive line in front of Greenlaw. He joins a group that already included Arik Armstead and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa.

"It's going to be huge," Greenlaw said. "... Just having a guy like him that can move people, that's aggressive, it's going to help everybody out. Not just me, but it's going to help the guys behind me as well because I just think it just all works together.

"So it's going to be fun. You already got the guys that we've had before, like Arik, Bosa, all those guys up front. So it's going to be fun to add in a guy with some experience as well."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Greenlaw below.

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