49ers defense notes: Warner's monster hit caps stellar day


COSTA MESA — Linebacker Fred Warner, at times, bordered on the edge of unacceptable behavior during the 49ers’ joint practice with the Los Angeles Chargers.

First off, his every action meets the approval of his defensive teammates and coaches.

But the Chargers might not have been overly pleased on Friday with the 49ers’ best defensive player.

And that's OK, because there have been times this summer when Warner’s aggressiveness has angered his own teammates on offense, too.

“Fred was all over the place, as normal,” 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said after the teams wrapped two joint practices in two days. “Just a dynamic player who is always around the ball, always making plays. He’s always attacking the ball and getting the ball out.

“That’s the style of defense we want to play, attacking the ball, and Fred exemplifies that to the max.”

At the outset of the 11-on-11 period, Warner delivered a big hit on Chargers running back Austin Ekeler. A short time later, he delivered a thwap to the arm of receiver Jalen Guyton to force a fumble.

And on the next play, Warner delivered another big thud to force a Justin Herbert incomplete pass.

Warner and the 49ers’ pass rush stood out during a practice in which Herbert continued to show why the Chargers have every reason to believe the second-year pro has a bright, bright future.

The 49ers and Chargers -- probably, minus many of the better starters on both teams -- will meet Sunday in the exhibition game for both teams.

Here are notes and observations from the 49ers’ defensive side of the ball:

— The 49ers’ pass rush generated steady pressure against each of the Chargers’ quarterbacks. If it were a game, defensive ends Arden Key, Arik Armstead, Samson Ebukam, Jordan Willis, defensive tackle Zach Kerr, linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, and blitzing safety Jared Mayden would have collected sacks.

— Veteran safety Tavon Wilson got the day off from practice, so rookie Talanoa Hufanga stepped in with the No. 1 defense. The Chargers completed 10 consecutive passes in a 7-on-7 red zone drill before safety Kai Nacua broke up a Chase Daniel pass in the end zone. Several of the passes appeared to be completed within Hufanga’s zone.

“He’s a young player and still has some mistakes to clean up that he’s still working through,” Ryans said. “Talanoa is fine. He’s progressing. I see him getting better every week. He’s on the right track.”

Ryans said he would have to watch the film to pinpoint where the mistakes occurred.

“Probably some communication break downs that happened in the red zone, where we saw a lot of completions,” Ryans said. “Our guys weren’t communicating as much as I would have liked them to, and (I’m) kind of disappointed from that period.”

— Edge rusher Dee Ford did not see any action in 11-on-11 work, while cornerback Jason Verrett had a light day. With Emmanuel Moseley nursing a slight hamstring strain, rookie Ambry Thomas and Dontae Johnson lined up at cornerback with the first team.

—Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, returning to action after missing a couple weeks with a knee injury, got the day off from 11-on-11 work.

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— Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw conditioned on a side field as he remains out of action with a shoulder injury. He wandered over behind the Chargers sideline to watch the action, and several times point out, quite loudly, how “soft” he believed L.A.’s offense looked.

— On the final play of practice, Thomas was called for pass interference on Herbert’s deep pass attempt to Guyton.

— Chargers receiver Keenan Allen, a ninth-year pro from Cal, made an acrobatic touchdown catch over 49ers cornerback B.W. Webb in the red zone. Allen turned to some onlookers nearby and pointed out that his reception was not a fluke, “I swear to God I’m really like that.”

In the past four seasons, Allen has 403 catches for 4,780 yards and 26 touchdowns, so we believe him.

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