SANTA CLARA — The two teams that meet Monday night at Levi’s Stadium might be able to stake claim to the best linebacker duos in the NFL.
On one side, of course, are the 49ers’ Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. And the Baltimore Ravens boast an exceptional pair of their own: Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen.
“We’re always looking at how other ‘backers are playing in the league,” said Warner, who has twice been chosen for the Pro Bowl and All-Pro. “I have a ton of respect for Roquan and Patrick.
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“The way they play the game is exactly how it’s supposed to be played. So our offense has to be aware of where they’re at at all times.”
The Ravens acquired Smith in a midseason trade last year from the Chicago Bears. He has one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro selection on his resume. Queen has averaged well over 100 tackles in each of his four seasons with the club.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Smith and Queen were the first players he noticed when he began taking the deep dive into preparing to face the Ravens. He said they remind him of Warner and Greenlaw.
“I think those are the two guys who jump off the tape and I think they're the most comparable to our guys that I've seen this year and a couple years,” Shanahan said. “To me, those two guys make the defense go. They're big. They can run and they can hit and not just because they're big because their intentions are that way.
San Francisco 49ers
“You can tell they like playing football. They're very smart players too. They're good in coverage. They're two of the better zone droppers in the league and two of the better man-to-man guys also. So, they're as good as it gets.”