Fred Warner

Joe Burrow, Zac Taylor laud Warner's greatness ahead of 49ers-Bengals

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There will be no shortage of star power when the 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals meet on the field Sunday at Levi's Stadium.

One name Cincinnati is ensuring they account for ahead of this blockbuster matchup is 49ers All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner, whose hot start has placed him firmly in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow detailed why Warner is such a dynamic player and what separates him from other players at his position.

"Man, he's fast," Burrow told reporters on Wednesday. "He's got really good ball skills in zone coverage, so you've got to always be aware of that. He flies around, makes big plays. Feels like he's always around the ball, getting tips, creating big plays for their defense that not a lot of linebackers can make, so you always got to be alert for where he is. He's going to make plays, you know it. You've just got to move on to the next one."

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor knows Warner well, dating back to his days on the Los Angeles Rams coaching staff when the 49ers' star linebacker broke into the NFL in 2018.

Taylor detailed how Warner's experience in San Francisco's scheme has allowed the All-Pro to continue to improve year after year and rightfully earn recognition among the most impactful defenders in the NFL.

"He's a great player," Taylor said. "He's a great player. Again, don't want to compare him to other guys, but he's outstanding in their defense. He makes an impact on every single play he's in there and plays really hard, plays really smart. Again, one of the top backers in the game. There's no doubt about it.

"Instinct, confidence in the scheme, confidence in what he's been asked to do. That's experience in the scheme. They've made tweaks over the years, but really, for his career, he's been in the scheme, he's seen it evolve. He's playing at a very high level. Just having watched him, really, over the entirety of my time with the Rams and here, he's always been a great player, and he continues to improve every single year."

Since being drafted by the 49ers in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Warner has grown into the leader of one of the most vaunted defenses in the NFL over the last few seasons.

Following an uncharacteristic performance against the Minnesota Vikings last week, Warner and the 49ers' defense aim to return to their dominant ways against the talented Bengals offense.

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