Thursday, December 22, 2022

49ers starter gives blunt reasons why defense has few competitors

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Dressed in colors similar to the “number strength” crowd at the Chase Center for the Golden State Warriors post-game basketball games, Dre Greenlaw shared what is otherwise considered number strength: the San Francisco 49ers defense.

The cat-fast fullback was one of three 49ers who made five tackles in the 13-0 shutout win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, November 27 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. In doing so, the 49ers delivered the following awards through this side of football, as noted on the NFL Twitter account:

Greenlaw, dressed in a cap and colored casual shirt in the colors of her Bay Area basketball representative, let reporters know the 49ers’ defense has few competitors … and detailed what sets them apart from other units in the league.

Pinned by NBC Sports Bay Area, Greenlaw shared that this defense isn’t about all-pros or one guy doing all the work on the field.

“The whole year was a group effort. It wasn’t a guy who just did plays. It was all 11 guys feeding each other,” Greenlaw began with reporters watching the win. “And then looking over, just seeing your brother and seeing him and how he’s playing, it kind of feeds off of each other.”

Greenlaw, who is already approaching 80 tackles this season, admitted the 49ers’ defense didn’t immediately establish its identity for 2022.

“In the beginning we had trouble figuring out who we were as a team and as a defense,” Greenlaw said. “But I think when we’re more together and have that trust in each other, I think we start to figure out who we are and we show all of that on Sundays.”

And then Greenlaw shared what makes the 49ers’ defense different from others in 2022

“Movies don’t lie. You turn on the silent tape, you see all 11 people running wild trying to play football and chop off someone’s head, and I just don’t see that from other teams,” Greenlaw said boldly.

Greenlaw also added a pass deflection and four solo stops to win. But here’s what else the 49ers accomplished against the Saints:

run defense: The Niners averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. And the longest escape from New Orleans scrimmage? A 10-yard scamper from quarterback Andy Dalton.

Shortage of 40 yarders: While the 49ers conceded 35 yards to Rashid Shaheed, the Saints never earned more than 40 yards through the air when facing the 49ers. The 49ers delivered four pass breakups. The cornerback duo of Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir each provided five tackles (Lenoir’s tackles were all solo). Lenoir also put the brackets on first all-rounder Chris Olave on that deep ball.

snack: While Dalton may have taken care of the ball off the air, the Saints have still spat the ball out twice after fumbles, which were recovered by Greenlaw and returning defensive end Samson Ebukam.

Greenlaw is true to his word: Greenlaw described seeing several men play football with the 49ers. The Athletic’s David Lombardi captioned a photo illustrating what Greenlaw means – one showing an 8-on-2 advantage the 49ers created below.

Even Jimmy Garoppolo loves being around these defenses.

“We have a damn good defender. I love playing with these guys. There are some dogs out there,” Garoppolo said on NBC Sports Bay Area.

And Nick Bosa had this telling post-game statement on that defense versus the 2019 defense that helped win the NFC title.

“We have a damn good defender. I love playing with these guys. There are some dogs out there,” Garoppolo said on NBC Sports Bay Area.

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