The 49ers’ leadership was tested after the club’s blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 5.
And a lot of the players whom the 49ers would ordinarily turn to when things got tough were no longer around.
But everyone knows exactly where to find linebacker Fred Warner: On the field and around the action.
Warner, who has never missed a game during his three-year NFL career, has emerged into the team’s top leader on defense. And he helped set the tone during the week and early in the game for the 49ers’ bounce-back performance against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.
“I hold myself to the highest standard possible each and every day,” Warner told NBC Sports Bay Area. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a game day or in the meetings or in practice, I hold myself to such a high standard. Then, I can hold other people to that, as well.
“I’m always going to be myself. Me being three years in the system now, being comfortable around my teammates, I think they can take that criticism, and I can take it back, as well.”
In the lead-up to the 2018 draft, Warner visited the 49ers, New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. He says he felt a connection to the 49ers during his time with the coaching staff in Santa Clara.
The 49ers were also impressed with Warner’s smarts, toughness and leadership skills. Warner was a third-round selection, a move that continues to look better and better every day.
Warner’s approach to his craft was especially beneficial as the 49ers looked to get back on track after getting demolished by the Dolphins.
And it is just as important, Warner said, to keep the same approach after an uplifting victory.
“I never get too low on a loss and I’ll never get too high on a win, either,” he said. “My mindset ever since we won (Sunday night) was to put my head down and get right back to work.
“It doesn’t matter how hard you worked last week. You got to go even harder this week if we want to win the game against a great New England team on the road. It’s a great challenge for us.”
If there is one thing that the 49ers can use to carry over from their 24-16 win over the Rams, it is confidence that the pieces are still in place for the 49ers to remain in strong contention throughout this season.
“We know we’re a very deep team, in terms of talent, this year.” Warner said. “That’s why we’re able to go out and compete at such a high level, still, with the injuries we’ve had to our team.
“We’ve lost some key players and some leaders for our team, but I think guys have come in and stepped huge for us.”