Deommodore Lenoir

Why 49ers' Lenoir believes offenses avoided him in playoffs

The 23-year-old cornerback confidently claimed that teams became more wary of his defensive abilities during the playoffs.

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Deommodore Lenoir is heading into the 2023 NFL season with newfound confidence.

Speaking with NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and Jennifer Lee Chan on the latest episode of "49ers Talk," the 23-year-old cornerback explained how teams the 49ers faced in the playoffs began to game plan around him because of his defensive abilities.

"I felt like that game [against the Philadelphia Eagles], I feel like I was respected just because what I was doing in the playoffs and I was going into that game prepared like, 'They're going to attack me, like I want them to attack me,' " Lenoir shared to Maiocco and Chan. " 'This is going to be my chance, I'm about to make history. Y'all attack me, I'mma make history.' That was my whole mindset, and it just carried over to this season.

"Now I feel like I done made some plays, but now it's just time to turn it up even more."

During the 2022 regular season, Lenoir had 74 total tackles, 54 solo and 25 assisted. He also had six tackles for loss with one interception in 17 games played, after he was thrust into a starting role when Emmanuel Moseley went down with a torn ACL.

While Lenoir had a solid 2022 regular season by all accounts, the cornerback truly made his presence felt in the 49ers' playoff run.

Against the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and Eagles, Lenoir was only targeted 13 total times. He only allowed 85 yards on five receptions and two interceptions during San Francisco's playoff run to the NFC Championship Game.

As such, Lenoir believes that word of his defensive prowess is beginning to spread throughout the league.

"That first drive, they didn't come to me at all versus the Eagles," Lenoir continued. "So I was already thinking, I'm like, 'They scared, they scared. They know anytime they put the ball in the air, I'm going to come down with it.'

"I wanted to win that game. They could've attacked me 100 times and I was going to try and make every play just to win that game."

Regardless of how good the 49ers' defense was during the playoffs, it would have been very difficult for San Francisco to beat Philadelphia with an injured quarterback.

Even Eagles center Jason Kelce admitted he felt "sorry" for the 49ers after hearing that Brock Purdy had torn his UCL in San Francisco's opening drive.

RELATED: Lenoir reveals hilarious new nickname for 49ers DC Wilks

With both Trey Lance and Purdy seemingly on track to be healthy by the time the 2023 season starts, and Sam Darnold waiting in the wings, the 49ers should have enough offensive firepower to where a repeat of last year would be unlikely.

And with a very confident Lenoir helping shore up the defense, the sky is the limit for San Francisco, barring untimely injuries of course.

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