Cowboys' McCarthy has been impressed, amazed by Warner


Fred Warner has yet to be named to a Pro Bowl, but that omission likely will soon come to an end

Mike McCarthy believes that Warner is one of the top linebackers in the game. On a conference call with local Bay Area media on Wednesday, the Dallas Cowboys' head coach was effusive with his compliments for the third-year player.

Getting his team ready to host the 49ers on Sunday is not the first time that McCarthy has watched film of Warner. Back in 2018 when McCarthy was the head coach for the Green Bay Packers, he prepared for the linebacker in his rookie season. 

“He’s a complete football player, let alone a complete linebacker,” McCarthy said. “I can’t say enough about his instincts and awareness and ability to make plays.

“You can see the comfort level he has in their scheme,” McCarthy said. “His recognition conceptually about the run and the pass is impressive, amazing. Clearly one of the best linebackers that we’ve seen all year. Clearly.”  

The BYU product has had a lot on his plate since his arrival in Santa Clara as the quarterback of the defense, wearing the green dot and making the on-field calls. Warner, who was selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, leads the team in tackles for the third consecutive season.

He revealed that there were many people that questioned his ability to succeed at the pro level, and it has been his goal to prove them wrong. Praise from people outside the building is gratifying, but the linebacker is striving for more. 


“It’s flattering for sure,” Warner said Wednesday. “It means the world. One thing I wanted when I came into the league was respect. All the people telling me that I couldn’t play in the box, that I was just a big safety, and I wasn’t physical and all these other things that people told me coming through the draft. 

“To have come this far this early on, it means a lot, but I’m only scratching the surface of what I’m capable of. I’m extremely hard on myself, I have the highest expectations of myself and my game and I’m going to continue to try and be the best I can for this team and I have a long way to go, so I’m just going to keep working.”  

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Warner’s rookie contract keeps him with the team through the 2021 season, but as with George Kittle, the 49ers’ front office likely will attempt to reach an agreement with the linebacker on an extension before his fourth season begins. 

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