How Ryans taught Warner to be a vocal leader in 49ers huddles


Fred Warner would not have been the vocal player he is, had it not been for 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. 

In an ESPN feature about Ryans, Warner shared how he developed his voice after the then-Inside Linebackers coach stopped a defensive huddle in 2018 because he was unhappy by what he saw when Warner -- a rookie at the time -- "meekly mumbled" out a play call. 

"He grabbed me and he was mad," Warner explained. "He made sure that I knew that, as the MIKE 'backer, I say it with authority every time you go out there. 

"I need to take command of the huddle."

Since then, Warner has evolved into an All-Pro player and most importantly, channeled what Ryans taught him. Warner has been the vocal defensive leader the 49ers have needed him to be as his commanding presence and constant encouragement are evident.

As a former linebacker, Ryans was asked if he was constantly encouraging and uplifting his teammates during his playing days and shared he did it similarly to Warner, but the 26-year-old goes further. 

"I love the leadership that Fred provides for our team," Ryans told reporters Thursday. "Not only for the defense -- he's just an outstanding guy, outstanding player, and he does an outstanding job of motivating the guys and making sure they're locked in, not just on game day.

"That's what sets him apart."

Ryans added that Warner has been a steady presence for San Francisco, regardless of the situation and moment.

"He's been consistent for us," Ryans said. "He's a consistent leader, steady in his preparation, steady in his performance as well." 

Ryans' ability to get his message across to pull the best out of his players is what makes him a sought-after commodity among the NFL's head coaching ranks and why various 49ers players laud his skill as a coach. 

"He already came into this thing with so much to give because he played at such a high level playing the position," Warner said. "And not all players can go on and be great coaches and translate that knowledge that they have into being a good teacher.

"But he's the most amazing teacher ever."

RELATED: Ryans explains why he is 'ready' to be head coach in NFL

It remains to be seen where Ryans' journey takes him after the 49ers' NFL playoff journey concludes. 

But one thing is for certain: Players will always listen to the lessons Ryans is teaching. Just like Warner.

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us