Dre Greenlaw

Shanahan refutes Greenlaw's inflated unnecessary roughness penalties

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49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw is known for his physical style of play, but is that physicality causing him to develop a track record of sorts with referees?

Greenlaw has been flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty in each of the last two games, which has prompted questions about him potentially creating a reputation based on his repeated infractions.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan strongly voiced support for his player and the hard-nosed style of play he brings to the 49ers' defense.

"Anytime you play like Dre, he doesn't hesitate in anything he does, so he jumps off the screen at people, but you still gotta call it right," Shanahan said. "It's harder when people are like that, but he plays one way, and if he's ever playing in a way that's illegal or anything that's not allowed, we'll change that fast.

"But Dre is a very talented athlete, and very physical and a violent player who can play that fast and keep himself out of trouble for the most part, and I think he's done a very good job of that throughout his career. The hardest one was the one vs. [Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin] Herbert last year, which was just unfortunate. But I think he's done a real good job at it."

The recent uptick in these penalties is noteworthy. Greenlaw only was penalized for unnecessary roughness twice in his first three seasons in the league but since has seen that number skyrocket.

He has been flagged for unnecessary roughness six times since the start of the 2022 season, including his disqualification from the 49ers' Week 10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers last year, which Shanahan alluded to.

For now, Shanahan doesn't appear to be worried about Greenlaw or his style of play.

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