49ers film room: Why Fred Warner is already a top 3 linebacker

Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Fred Warner, 49ers
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

No. 10: 49ers’ Fred Warner cannot be stiff-armed, so don’t even try

Fred Warner made 118 tackles in 2019, with seven tackles for loss (TFL).

This is the second season in a row Warner has led the 49ers in tackles. Even though his number of tackles went down from 124 in 2018 to 118 in 2019, Warner’s numbers in most other categories were better in 2019 compared to the previous season.

An area in which Warner has benefited from having a dominant defensive line is in the run game. The D-line wreaked havoc on opposing offensive lines, often meaning linebackers weren’t getting blocked by an offensive lineman who couldn’t climb to the second level.

This meant there were wide open lanes for Warner, Kwon Alexander and Dre Greenlaw, to run through and make a play on the ball carrier, hence why Warner’s TFL increased from three in 2018 to seven in 2019.

In the Week 6 matchup versus the Los Angeles Rams, the Niners D-line was totally dominant, however Warner was excellent as well. Warner didn’t just make plays in the passing game when the Rams did decide to run the ball, it was 3rd-and-18 on the Rams 17-yard line, they only wanted to gain some field position.

To watch the play in question, click here.

However, Warner and the defensive had other ideas. The D-line, and in particular EDGE Nick Bosa, made immediate penetration through the Rams O-line. This made the Rams left tackle to hesitate, giving Warner an opportunity to tackle the Rams running back for a loss.

With Warner closing quickly the Rams running back tried to escape by stiff-arming Warner, which did not work.

Warner grabbed onto the running backs arm and just when the running back thought he had escaped, Warner takes him down by the ankles.

Warner’s most impressive plays, and the most memorable ones, are in pass coverage. However, Warner is still mightily impressive and dominant against the run.