San Francisco 49ers rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw was going to be a fan favorite all along. He is doing everything right; it seems. The fifth-round pick has agreed to document his first NFL training camp on the Niners’ official website. During August, Dre will share the first-person point of view of all his experiences. That’s pretty awesome and gives us fans a level of insight that we can’t get anywhere else.
During his first preseason game, it didn’t take long for Greenlaw to make a play. Was he perfect? Of course not. What I liked the most was the fact that he played exactly like he practiced: fast. Greenlaw talked about some of the highs and the lows:
In the second quarter, I had a tackle for loss. I was happy with how fast I read the play. It’s just a proud moment whenever I’m out there just playing – whenever I’m on the field, whenever I run out of that tunnel, it’s just a proud moment. But of course, there are moments I wish I could have back too. I missed a couple plays where I was supposed to be in man coverage and instead of getting my man, I got after the quarterback. Thankfully, they didn’t throw my man the ball, but what if they did? Just plays like that. I’m learning to be more aware of those mistakes and being on my job.
I appreciate the attention to detail. There are so many “what if” plays in the NFL that never happens because the play is never thrown in that direction. For example, some of Dante Pettis’ best routes come when he’s not targeted. In this case, Greenlaw dodged a bullet. That’s football.
Greenlaw was so focused on his job that he said he didn’t find out until after the game that he had four straight tackles during the opening drive. That is the definition of being in the moment. It’s hard to believe, but with all the moving parts and adrenaline, it makes sense. Greenlaw will get a chance to go against a former teammate against Denver in running back Dave Williams. He said it’ll be fun practicing against someone who isn’t on the Niners.
I asked Ahkello Witherspoon if he was ready to go against someone on another team, and he said: “I’ve been ready to go against someone else since OTAs.” The joint-practices will be very valuable for both teams. I don’t doubt for one minute that Greenlaw will continue to make a name for himself.