49ers' Warner believes scary confident Murray is 'Houdini'


SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers defense has already faced two mobile quarterbacks this season, but Fred Warner believes that Kyler Murray presents a different, and possibly more difficult type of challenge. 

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback and early-season MVP frontrunner was given the moniker of the squirrel by former 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner for a reason. At 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds, Murray is not only extremely mobile, he can be difficult to see behind a mountain range of NFL linemen.

The 49ers linebacker has faced Murray multiple times over his three-year career with the 49ers and has noticed a significant change when watching film in preparation for Sunday’s matchup.

“I feel like he keeps getting better and better,” Warner said on Wednesday. “The confidence is for sure continuing to rise. You can just see it on the tape. His confidence and his ability to extend plays and make plays for his offense and get guys open.” 

“We got to be extra locked in and focused this week preparing for him.”

The 49ers' defense has had mixed results through their first four weeks. They had a slow start against the Green Bay Packers, citing a lack of execution. A week later they played good enough to win, forcing the Seattle Seahawks to punt on their first five drives of the game.

Warner knows the defense needs to stay disciplined in order to stop Murray from getting those explosive plays. The Cardinals play caller has especially evolved the team's aerial attack, completing 102 of his 134 attempts for 1273 yards and nine touchdowns through just four games. 


Murray’s 76.1 completion percentage leads the league. With only four interceptions on the season and having taken only eight sacks for 57 yards, Murray boasts a lofty 115.5 quarterback rating. 

“I think he has continued to develop as a quarterback for sure,” Warner said. “What separates him from a lot of different guys is the ability to extend plays and do the Houdini act. You think you’ve got him bundled up, and then all of the sudden he’s out escaping, running wide open down the field.” 

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The challenge for Warner and the defense is to stick with their assignments. If the All Pro linebacker is assigned to coverage he has to fight the urge to cross the line of scrimmage when he sees Murray break the pocket. 

There has to be trust on the field that everyone on the 49ers defense will stay disciplined doing their job and not be a “hero." 

“It’s easy to say we are going to press the pocket and hope that we contain him, but it’s not that easy,” Warner said. “It’s going to take all 11. It’s a full 11 effort, it’s not just telling the D-line to keep him in the pocket. Everyone has got to be on the same page.”

Warner and the entire defense need to be on top of their game to contain the "Houdini act," or the 49ers' playoff hopes may also begin to disappear.

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