COSTA MESA -- Fred Warner might be the one who received All-Pro recognition in 2020, but he believes his fellow 49ers is the defense's difference-maker.
After a spirited practice with the Chargers, Warner was very complimentary of Dre Greenlaw.
Greenlaw, a third-year linebacker, was regularly flying around the ball making tackles during run plays as well as covering on pass plays.
Having a nose for the ball is nothing new for Greenlaw, who has registered 178 total tackles -- 125 solo and 10 for a loss -- in his two NFL seasons.
The Arkansas product also seems to come through with big plays in key situations. Greenlaw’s biggest play to date even brought tears to All-Decade left tackle Joe Staley’s eyes.
The linebacker’s game-winning stop near the goal line in Seattle in 2019 helped the 49ers clinch the NFC West, paving their path to appearing in Super Bowl LIV.
“Dre has been great this whole training camp, this whole offseason,” Warner said. “He has cut down weight a little bit so he’s flying around, he’s moving well. He has been physical as he has ever been.”
Greenlaw was thrust into the fray early in his rookie season after veteran Kwon Alexander tore his pectoral muscle late in October. The 24-year old never looked back, becoming a playmaker for the 49ers.
“I tell him and I’ll tell anyone that I think he is the X-factor on the defense,” Warner said. “When he is flying around and he is making plays, our defense looks different. I’m looking forward to seeing him grow.”