49ers' Fred Warner named NFC Defensive Player of Month for November

49ers' Fred Warner named NFC Defensive Player of Month for November

Since 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander sustained a season-ending torn pectoral, middle linebacker Fred Warner has elevated his game to another level.

On Thursday, Warner was recognized as NFC Defensive Player of the Month.

In his four games in November, Warner registered 10 or more tackles in each game. He picked up three sacks, three passes defensed and forced two fumbles.

Warner, a second-year player from BYU, becomes the second consecutive 49ers player to win the award. Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa won the honor for October.

Warner played well Sunday in the 49ers’ 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens despite the significant challenge of trying to slow down quarterback Lamar Jackson and the top-ranked offense in the league.

“All the misdirection and everything they have, especially with the quarterback runs, can really lock a guy up,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I thought he played as good as any of the linebackers that I’ve seen play them on tape and as it got going.

“They were good in the beginning, but they got better as the game went because the more you see that stuff, the more you get a feel for it. When you’ve got a guy like Fred, who’s very natural at things and football comes to him the right way, he just got better as the game went.”

[RELATED: Shanahan uses 'Karate Kid' analogy to describe Sherman's recovery]

Warner has taken on more responsibility since Alexander, a vocal leader on the defense, sustained his injury. Warner’s responsibilities include relaying the play call from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to his teammates in the huddle.

“It was usually him calling the plays and Kwon being the energy guy,” Bosa said. “And now it’s him doing both. He calls the play. He gets us lined up. And he brings the energy, so he’s really important.”

Jed York considered Super Bowl goal realistic after 49ers drafted Nick Bosa


Jed York considered Super Bowl goal realistic after 49ers drafted Nick Bosa

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers were 4-12 last season, so expecting to play in Super Bowl LIV was unrealistic even if the team believed it was better than its record suggests.

Team president and CEO Jed York understood that well. He hired head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to revamp the roster and slowly build the franchise back into a period of sustained success. York gave them six-year contracts back in 2017, a sign he knew this process wouldn’t happen overnight.

He weathered 6-10 in 2017 and 4-12 the following year. There was a moment, however, where York believed his 49ers could make a quantum leap. Yeah, all the way to the Super Bowl.

“The moment we were able to draft Nick Bosa, I thought that this was possible,” York said Friday in an Q&A with local media. “Knowing the moves that [Shanahan and Lynch] had made already, even going back to Trent Baalke, we have invested in our defensive line. Something important for Kyle was to have a Super Bowl caliber defensive line. When you bring Dee Ford through a trade/free agency, and then you’re able to get a player like Nick there when you’re drafting second, you knew that you had a chance. That’s when it sort of hit for me.”

Bosa has proven York right. The 49ers will play Kansas City for the NFL title on Feb. 2 in Miami thanks in large part to the presumptive Defensive Rookie of the Year. Bosa has made a huge impact on the 49ers this season, helping form the NFL’s best defensive line while dominating against the run and pass.

Bosa headlines a productive NFL draft class that also includes receiver Deebo Samuel, linebacker Dre Greenlaw and punter Mitch Witchnowsky. They joined a group that went through hard times in 2018 after Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt, but still managed to play some close games and provide optimism for the future.

“Watching what we were able to do last year after Jimmy got hurt, it took some time for us to find our way,” York said. “The offense was still able to do fairly well and be exciting. Knowing that our young guys had an opportunity to learn and grow was important. Not that we were going to make a push into January last year, but our guys were able to become pros. Some guys who maybe wouldn’t have been able to play if we were in a playoff hunt got a chance to grow last year. That gave us a chance to have a seasoned team, even if it doesn’t show it from their age.”

[RELATED: York hopeful 49ers get White House invite]

York wasn’t just looking for signs of progress with Garoppolo back and Bosa in the fray. He came into the year expecting big things, with full confidence in Lynch and Shanahan that they could reach the highest level and play in this Super Bowl.

“This is always what we’ve worked for,” York said. “Anybody that says we aim to go from 4-12 to 8-8, that’s never what we’re looking for. I always believe that, if you have the right mix of culture and talent, you give yourself a chance to win. I give so much credit to Kyle and John for what they’ve been able to do, and I’ll do whatever I can to support them.”

Jed York hopes 49ers receive White House invite from President Trump

Jed York hopes 49ers receive White House invite from President Trump

SANTA CLARA -- CEO Jed York does not want to look too far ahead, but he said Friday he hopes the 49ers do what it takes in Super Bowl LIV to get an invitation to visit the White House.

The presidency of Donald Trump has brought about decisions for sports teams on whether to accept invitations to visit Washington to be lauded as champions.

[RELATED: 49ers' Sherman on potential White House visit: 'I doubt it']

York was asked if the 49ers would go to the White House, if they defeat the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 in Super Bowl LIV.

“We have to get to that point,” York said. “For me, personally, I respect the office of the president, and I’m not going to get into politics.

“I hope we have that decision to make, and I hope we have that opportunity, and I hope that we’re fortunate enough to get a call from the president to invite us to the White House.”