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The 49ers defense has a secret weapon

In order to have a great defense, you need a few things. You need great players, obviously. You need a great coordinator. But you also need one more thing, and the 49ers have it in spades. You need to know how to tick people off.

On today’s Gold Standard podcast, Levin Black explained why Niners have been able to frustrate players so often this season.

“The defense has the perfect storm to tick you off if you’re an offensive player. They’re really good, and that’s frustrating. They’ve got tons of swagger. They talk, they back it up, and they’re extremely physical. They’re trying to manhandle you and embarrass you on every play. They do all of the things that get you worked up and riled up. So the moment you get a play that worked, and you get a first down or whatever, you want to rub it in their face.”

Monday’s game provided a perfect example of this scenario. The 49ers are beating Arizona 7-3 in the second quarter. The Cardinals have punted on two of their first three drives. On 3rd and 7 Colt McCoy completes a pass to DeAndre Hopkins for a first down into 49ers’ territory. Then this happened.

The penalty pushed the offense back to their own 45 yard line, and two plays later Jimmie Ward ended the drive with an interception. Was the flag questionable? Sure, but it was only thrown because Hopkins felt compelled to rub in the fact that he had converted on a key third down play.

Look at the stars of the defense. Jimmie Ward talks trash to the best players in the league on Instagram live. Dre Greenlaw is literally out there punching the hell out of people. Hell, Fred Warner concussed his own teammate in training camp just to send a message to Brandon Aiyuk. What do you think he’s saying to opponents out there on the field?

The defense is a perfect mix of youth and experience. Warner, Nick Bosa, Charvarius Ward, Dre Greenlaw, Talanoa Hufanga, Azeez Al-Shaair, and Charles Omenihu are all younger than 28 years old, but they also have significant playoff experience under their belt. That experience leads to one thing - poise. And poise counts.

When adversity eventually strikes, like say it’s freezing in Green Bay and you’re playing in a blizzard, this team has shown it has the wherewithal to keep their emotions in check, and even potentially get the other team to lose their cool.

Other topics in today’s show

  • Happy Thanksgiving! (0:00)
  • Jimmy G. is the same as he always was, but McCaffrey is helping out big time (7:49)
  • Kyle Shanahan’s F you drive against Arizona (8:57)
  • How the 49ers defense gets in your head (11:19)
  • Has McCaffrey raised the floor for this offense? (12:04)
  • One superstar head coach could be coming to the NFC West (19:17)
  • Could Trey Lance return to play this year? (22:00)
  • How the Zach Wilson debacle makes us thankful for Trey (25:21)
  • Do the 49ers receivers not want OBJ? (29:26)
  • Why the Saints game could be a trap game for the Niners (31:56)
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you, listeners! (39:44)