As his team’s game against the San Francisco 49ers rapidly approaches, Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett has been combing through the game film to understand the intricacies of their offensive and defensive schemes.
One of the players he was most impressed by during these film sessions, at least according to his pregame media session? That would be Fred Warner, the Niners’ $95 linebacker and leader of their defense.
Their front seven is dynamic. The whole group is very, very good. They’re very sound, they’re a penetrating front. They’re dynamic. When you’ve got so many good, electric players on a front, it’s always going to cause issues. They’re playing at a very high level. They’ve been in that system now for quite a while so they’re comfortable. They know it.
You take 54, he’s spectacular. He’s such a good player. He’s someone that you always have to be aware of, but you also have to be aware of a bunch of other guys, too.
They’re very simple, but they’re very effective. They understand all the different route concepts they can get. They understand the runs they can get, and they are able to play fast. I think they continually show that and they make you have to be perfect on every single play.
After being widely overlooked coming into the NFL out of BYU, it’s clear Warner is now a featured player opposing 49ers scouting reports, which is very high praise.
Fred Warner Is Still Sour Over His Draft Stock
When asked on September 7th about how he felt about falling to the third round of the 2018 NFL draft by NBC Sports Bay Area, Warner described the chip that has developed on his shoulder.
“Do I think that I could have been drafted higher?” Warner asked. “I guess, but at the end of the day, I would never have wanted to be drafted anywhere but here. You know, when I came out from little BYU, I was not the Fred Warner you see today, like, I was somebody that had to be molded and grow in a system for four or five years in order to become who I am, and, um, (I’m) super grateful to be drafted to the Niners under a great coaching staff, people, players who have helped me grow, so I would never take any of that back. You know, I do keep a chip on my shoulder of all the things that were said about me coming out, but other than that, I’m super grateful for where I was chosen.”
Warner was then asked about his quick transition from the Cougars to the Niners as a rookie and credited the convergence of opportunity and preparation for his strong start at the NFL level.
“Yeah, I mean, some of it is just an opportunity presents itself and you just gotta be ready for the moment,” Warner said. “Um, they knew I could handle a lot, in terms of the mental side of the game, and I had enough physical capability to be out there and run the defense, but I wasn’t close to where I needed to be in terms of playing at a high level, so that took a lot of growth and development.”
The San Francisco 49ers’ D-Line Is Key To Making Life Easy
After allowing just 2.6 yards per carry on the ground through the first two weeks of the season, Warner was asked during his post-game media availability what the secret was to the team’s success. Unsurprisingly, the captain gave credit to the players around him.
“I think it all starts up front,” Warner replied. “The D-line just causing penetration, wreaking havoc every single down. It makes out lives in the back end so easy, just playing off of them. We go into every game wanting to stop the run, it’s honestly a mindset of all eleven just really swarming to the football and when you turn on the tape I think you see that.”
Considering the Broncos have the ninth-ranked rushing attack in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, Warner and company will have their hands full in Week 3.