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Greenlaw on starting at WILL LB: I’m ready to play where the coaches put me

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Greenlaw also had high praise for Kinlaw

Atlanta Falcons v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw spoke to the media on Wednesday. The biggest takeaway I had was nobody asked Dre about his hair cut!

Greenlaw spoke about starting in 2020, Javon Kinlaw, his preparation, and much more. Greenlaw is currently in Fayetteville, Arkansas, but said he plans to get back to Santa Clara within the next week or so to get around the training staff so they can help him prepare for the upcoming season.

What’s been your focus for you this offseason? How are you trying to improve and polish your game from a year ago?

Understanding scheme as much as possible. Now that I have a year under my belt, I have a good feel for the speed of the game. Just understanding the defense in general, my job, my technique, and trying to be 100% correct on all of my assignments.

Going into the season, what are your expectations and have you been told anything about who will start at WILL linebacker?

I haven’t been told anything. Just as a player, I don’t look into where I’m going to be at or expectations for coming in and playing. We’re [Kwon Alexander] both going to be ready, and the coaches are going to make the right decision. I’m just ready to play where the coaches put me, and I’m ready to play both positions.

How much confidence did your rookie season give you compared to how you were feeling 12 months ago?

It just gives me a boost for seasons to come. I’m excited to continue to grow and build off my first year. I feel like I’m only going to get better from here on out.

Was there any coach/form of training that helped you become such a good tackler that quickly in the NFL?

Coach Ryan did a really good job. He already kinda looked at me whenever I had him as a coach or played against him in the Senior Bowl, he had a good sense of my playing style, and he really helped develop me to being comfortable and more confident on the field. I think that all kind of correlates on the field. I understand not only my assignment but the technique he wants me to play. He allowed me to use my instincts and allowed me to be confident on the field.

How do you prepare when you don’t know what position you’re playing, and how different are WILL and SAM linebackers?

The process for each position is really similar. You do some of the same things. One play we might have the technique where the WILL will have to play, and the next call on that same play, thee SAM will have to play the same technique. In order to know the defense, you have to know both positions. I go in and look at things I have trouble understanding, and I really try to learn and tone down on those things. As far as naturally being able to play, I understand WILL. SAM is something I’m more looking into learning and getting more comfortable with it. The process for each position is really similar. You do some of the same things. One play we might have the technique where the WILL will have to play, and the next call on that same play, thee SAM will have to play the same technique. In order to know the defense, you have to know both positions. I go in and look at things I have trouble understanding, and I really try to learn and tone down on those things. As far as naturally being able to play, I understand WILL. SAM is something I’m more looking into learning and getting more comfortable with it.

Do you have any impressions on what kind of player Javon Kinlaw can be for y’all?

I played against him my junior year. Just an explosive big guy that can really move. He’s going to be the perfect 3-technique for us. It’s going to be exciting to see his potential. The way that Bosa came and showed his talent, I think Kinlaw can do the same thing. He very well may be the Defensive Rookie of the Year. It’s going to be exciting to be behind him and play with him.

At what point last season did you feel like you became an instinctive player and have a balance for the scheme?

I really felt like in the playoffs; I had knowledge of the scheme. Green Bay and Minnesota, I felt really good about it versus the Seahawks the last game. There were a couple of teams in there that I wasn’t necessarily as confident about, and it was such a short week where I had to ask all of the questions. Towards the end of the season, I really felt more confident and play how I wanted to play because I understood the defense better.