How 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw approaches replacing Kwon Alexander

How 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw approaches replacing Kwon Alexander

SANTA CLARA – Rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw takes over for veteran Kwon Alexander, who proved in the first eight games of the season to be worth every penny the 49ers paid to acquire him as a free agent.

So as Greenlaw shifts to weakside linebacker, his approach to replacing Alexander is to not view it in those terms. Greenlaw fully realizes he cannot be Alexander, so why even try?

“It’s not about what I got to pick up or what I have to do like Kwon to go do something,” Greenlaw said. “It’s about me doing what I’ve been doing since training camp and since preseason. I feel like I bring good speed to the room, running, tackling, and I have to continue to do that. With the teammates I have, and the guys around me, that should be enough.”

Greenlaw, a fifth-round draft pick from Arkansas, has appeared in all eight games this season. He was the team’s starting Sam linebacker, a spot in the 49ers’ defense that exits the field when the club goes to its nickel personnel in passing situations.

In the 49ers’ defense, their three linebacker positions are similar, so when Alexander went down late in the third quarter last Thursday with a season-ending torn pectoral, Greenlaw was called upon to step in at the Will linebacker position.

“I’ve had a couple position changes,” Greenlaw said. “Last game, I had to process things a little different. I knew what they were doing, the plays they were running, but at the same time, it’s about understanding my fits.

“I was slightly more hesitant than I usually am at the Will spot. Just because the last few weeks, I’m been focused so much at Sam.”

Greenlaw had the biggest play of his rookie season earlier in the game when he tossed Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray for a 19-yard loss on a sack. He also registered three tackles.

The assignment gets much more difficult on Monday night, as the 49ers go up against the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson, the prohibitive favorite through the first half of the season to win NFL MVP. Wilson is third in the NFL in passing yards, while throwing 22 touchdowns with just one interception.

“It’s going to be fun,” Greenlaw said. “He’s a guy I looked up to, growing up watching football.”

Wilson is someone Greenlaw said he has long admired because of his ability to overcome the odds. Wilson was scrutinized coming out of college for being undersized, much like Greenlaw.

Moreover, even though they have never met, there is a connection. Greenlaw’s coach at Arkansas for three seasons, Bret Bielema, was Wilson’s coach at Wisconsin in 2011 for his final college season.

The Seahawks will almost certainly look for ways to exploit the rookie. Greenlaw said he is confident that he will not have to do too much because of the other 10 players on the 49ers’ defense, including middle linebacker Fred Warner, who lines up alongside him.

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“I get smarter and smarter every game, just understanding what I’m supposed to do and how things are supposed to fit, and where they’re trying to attack us,” Greenlaw said. “We really don’t know how the Seahawks are going to attack us, but the first 15 plays will show.

“For me, it’s about watching film, being prepared and just taking my assignment from the practice field to the game field and executing it there.”

Joe Montana statue at Levi's Stadium defaced after 49ers-Seahawks game


Joe Montana statue at Levi's Stadium defaced after 49ers-Seahawks game

SANTA CLARA – The statue of legendary 49ers quarterback Joe Montana outside Levi’s Stadium was vandalized on Monday night following San Francisco's 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, according to authorities.

Jorge Alberto Lopez of Santa Clara was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on a charge of felony vandalism, Santa Clara Police announced in a press release.

According to the report, a security officer at Levi’s Stadium witnessed Lopez grab the facemask of the statue and pull it off. The suspect was arrested at 9:50 p.m. on Monday.

The 49ers released the following statement on Wednesday:

“The Joe Montana statue that is part of the ‘The Catch’ art installation located inside the stadium’s Gate A plaza was vandalized following our recent Monday Night Football game. Security personnel apprehended the individual soon thereafter and the Santa Clara Police Department arrested the individual on felony vandalism charges. Crews have already begun repairs on the statue and expect work to be complete prior to Sunday’s home game. As this is an ongoing police matter, we will not have any additional comment.”

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The statue of Montana was dedicated last October and is accompanied by a statue of Dwight Clark making the leaping catch in the 1981 NFC Championship Game that lifted the 49ers to their first Super Bowl. The statue has since been repaired.

49ers' Nick Bosa suffered first loss in over two years vs. Seahawks


49ers' Nick Bosa suffered first loss in over two years vs. Seahawks

49ers rookie sensation Nick Bosa experienced something Monday night that the 22-year-old hasn’t faced in over two years.

He lost a game.

That’s right, the defensive end hadn’t suffered defeat prior to San Francisco's loss to the Seahawks on Monday night since his sophomore season at Ohio State.

That game was especially rough for Bosa, as he was ejected in the second quarter after a pretty blatant targeting penalty for a hit on Iowa's quarterback.

Bosa’s Buckeyes won the first three games of 2018 before he injured his knee and missed the final 11 games of his collegiate career.

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The 49ers hope to restart Bosa’s winning streak Sunday when they take on the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium.