Every time practice gets a little chippy for the 49ers, Fred Warner is in the middle of it. That was the case again yesterday as Vikings players were unhappy with how physical Warner and company were with some of their players. It wasn’t accidental.
“I told the guys, we had a great day yesterday, but today we had to try to pick up the intensity even another step,” Warner said after practice, “I think the guys rose to the challenge. Yeah, you know we were hitting them, throwing them to the ground. A little bit chippy, but that’s just how we play, man. We’re just gonna be physical, we’re gonna be violent, but that’s just how we play.”
Warner is sending a message to his teammates. I would say that message is, “all gas, no brakes,” but that guy isn’t here anymore. Still, I do believe that is the message. Fred hit Marcus Johnson so hard he suffered a concussion earlier this summer, and now he’s ticking off the opposing team in a joint practice.
Kyle Shanahan has made no secret of how good he thinks this year’s team can be. He’s also gone out of his way to point out the plan to lean on the defense to get through Trey Lance’s growing pains. If they’re going to live up to those expectations, the tone needs to be set every single day. Warner appears to be doing that.
Things got so heated, apparently, Adam Thielen tried to get a piece of the action.
Adam Thielen just rushed the field, taking exception with the 49ers taking #Vikings running backs to the ground. Had to be held back. Plenty of tension during 11s today.— Sam Ekstrom (@SamEkstrom) August 18, 2022
At 6’2” and 200 pounds, I’m not exactly sure what Thielen thought he was going to do to the likes of Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, etc. Pretty sure the person holding him back probably saved him from the beating of a lifetime, but we’ll never know.
In any event, it’s clear that the 49ers' defense intends on carrying the team in 2022. It will be interesting to see what the game is like when both sides can actually tackle one another for real tomorrow night.
Make sure you follow the Niners Nation Podcast Network now! Our daily 49ers in Five podcast gives you the latest news, the most interesting press conference and radio interview clips, and everything else that you need to know - all in less time than it takes to finish your morning coffee.