Since his arrival to the team as the 70th overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, the former BYU Cougar has not missed a day of work on Sunday.
Sixteen games, sixteen starts, 11 more starts this season, no significant injuries, a pile of tackles he’s stacked…and a streak now in jeopardy.
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What Could End for Warner
Warner’s personal streak that’s now in jeopardy? Consecutive games played, per The Athletic’s David Lombardi:
As Lombardi pointed out in his YouTube video, Warner’s hamstring strain is expected to last between one week to two. However, what does this mean in the long run according to the 49ers’ beat reporter?
“Well, first of all, the 49ers dodged a bullet,” Lombardi said. “If they were set to either miss Deebo Samuel or Fred Warner or both for an extended period of time, it would have been bad.
“These are two extremely important players,” Lombardi continued. “You have to have your stars to do stuff over a prolonged period of time. And Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner are both stars. However, one to two weeks is not a prolonged period of time to miss, so the 49ers certainly dodged a bullet. They’re happy about that.”
Warner Brings “Crazy Athleticism” to His Tackling
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Warner was a run-stopping force prior to his hamstring injury.
Here’s one play that highlights his “crazy athleticism” in getting around the Vikings’ 6-foot-6, 320-pound right guard Olisaemeka Udoh.
Had Warner not wrap up and tussle down the physical, downhill runner Alex Mattison, the 49ers would have been left with safety Talanoa Hufanga as the only man who could bring down the Vikes’ running back.
But that’s not all. Here’s a series of plays that shines a light on his ball-hawking ability:
Before the Vikings’ win, Warner posted two games of double-digit tackles in the season-opening win over the Detroit Lions (11) and his season-high of 13 in the Week 9 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. And, according to Pro Football Reference, Warner finished with 8-9 tackles in six of the 49ers’ 11 games.
Warner is already eight tackles away from hitting 100 tackles for the fourth time in his career. His tackle totals each season have been 124, 118 and 125 stops — all in that order from 2018 to 2020.
What Warner & Samuel’s Absence Means for Next Few Weeks
Samuel is an obvious scratch for Sunday at Seattle with his groin strain. But how do the 49ers operate from here with both he and Warner not likely in the two-deep of the depth chart?
“Now they have to bridge the gap between now and when Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner returns,” Lombardi said.
What effect does Warner’s absence have on the 49ers if his 62 consecutive game playing streak snaps versus the Seahawks?
“You have to be concern if the main communication nerve center of your defense in Fred Warner is not going to be available,” Lombardi said, who then described Warner as a cerebral defender. “He’s obviously tremendously gifted from an athletic perspective. But, he’s one of the smartest players in the National Football League. And that’s where the 49ers will miss Fred Warner.”
But one man who proved he could fill the brains and brawn of Warner: Azeez Al-Shaair, who led the team in tackles in the home win over the Vikings and took over the radio relaying for the 49er defense.
More from Lombardi’s video can be watched below: