LB Fred Warner

 

LB Fred Warner

Press Conference – January 8, 2020

San Francisco 49ers

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Seems like a couple of the games that you have given up the most rushing yards this year have been against teams that have a running quarterback. That isn’t the case this time. Is this more of a point-of-attack challenge than other teams?

“Yeah, I mean, they run the football really well. Very effective at it. It’s going to be a grimy game for sure. Both teams, I think even they know they want to run the ball. We know what they trying to do. It’s going to be grimy. We’re going to have to get after it.”

How do you assess Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook?

“Dalvin? Very good back. He’s had an outstanding season. Great contact balance. He’s looking to get downhill right now. In open space, he’s a cutback player. Elusive. Yeah, we’re going to have to make sure we’re on top of it with him.”

Did you notice last week when he and New Orleans Saints LB Demario Davis collided a couple times in key shots, it was Cook that didn’t move? Can you get anything from plays like that?

“Like I said, his contact balance is really good. He’s not the biggest back, but he plays a lot bigger than he is. He’s strong. You know it’s going to take more than arm tackles or just one guy. It’s going to be a group tackling him, making sure everybody gets to the ball.”

What stands out to you about Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins on film?

“Yeah, I don’t want to say game manager, because that has a negative connotation. He makes good decisions. He can launch the football. Doesn’t turn the ball over. That’s all great things to win football games, obviously. It all starts with the run. Once they get the running game going, the pass opens up. Obviously, they’ve been very efficient in play-action passes.”

What are the biggest challenges for a linebacker dealing with a team that runs as much as they do?

“If they get the run going, you’re having to bite up on the run. They can hit things behind you. I mean, seeing how the offensive line comes off the ball is key. Seeing how they come off and run, come off in play-action.”

What has it been like to have LB Kwon Alexander back at practice?

“It’s been legendary. No, it’s been really great. Just a different swag, energy out there when he’s on the field. It’s great having him back out there. He looks great. Should be fun having him back out there this weekend.”

What kind of impact do you expect him having on Saturday?

“Whenever he’s in the game, I expect him to have a big impact. I think, obviously, his legs are fresh, he’s ready to go. He’s always talking about how he’s going to get the ball before I am. We got that on the line. I am expecting him to have a pretty big impact for us.”

What’s the best thing anyone has told you about approaching your very first post-season game?

“Not making the situation bigger than it is. Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of fans, it’s going to be loud, a lot on the line. At the same time, trying to keep the same routine throughout the week. I’m not going to change something up from what I regularly do just because it’s playoff time, you know? Just making sure that you’re doing what you always do, but to the best of your ability. I think that’s all you can ask of yourself.”

You dealt with guys being in and out of the lineup on defense, especially the second half of the year. To get S Jaquiski Tartt, DL Dee Ford and Kwon back, what does that do for you guys as a unit?

“Yeah, I think it’s kind of a confidence boost. I think it’s been a while since we’ve had all those guys back on the field together. The more weapons we have, the more, I guess, powerful we’re going to be on Saturday.”

Was there any backstory, something that happened with LB Dre Greenlaw after the play he made in Seattle that you did to him after that enormous play?

“That we did for him or to him?”

Something you guys did.

“I’m sure in the moment, right after the hit, I didn’t know what really was going on. I didn’t know if the guy fumbled it or if we stopped him. After we saw the replay, everybody knew that we won the game, Dre obviously was the hero. He’s the one that got us that first-round Bye. I’m looking to him to have a really good game come Saturday.”

How key was it when you lose Kwon and have some defensive injuries that you have a young guy that can step in and help you bridge the gap?

“Yeah, I don’t even think it gets talked about enough honestly. Dre coming in for Kwon, like you said, as a rookie, we’ve asked a lot of him throughout the weeks. Game plan’s always changing. He’s stayed steady. It’s never perfect. It’s never perfect for anybody. I think just how he’s floating around to the ball, made the hits he’s supposed to make, just been solid. That’s props to my guy.”

Some say the play you had with Seattle Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister wasn’t defensive pass interference. Some said the other way around. Is it frustrating the lack of consistency with that specific play?

“Yeah, I think in that situation it probably could have gone either way honestly. I think the fact that he kind of made contact with me was the biggest deciding factor in that play. They tried to run the same play the play before. I think [Seattle Seahawks QB] Russ [Wilson] missed him because he kind of created that separation at first. The second time around, he tried to do it again. That’s when I tried to keep a tighter coverage. I won the rep.”

What kind of impact can the crowd have on Saturday?

“Huge. It’s going to be really fun, a really electric atmosphere. We’re going to show up big. Looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun.”