Rookie safety Ji'Ayir Brown has been invaluable to the 49ers' defense in the absence of All-Pro Talanoa Hufanga, making an impact greatly appreciated by the unit's vocal leader, Fred Warner.
While addressing media in the 49ers' locker room on Wednesday, Warner detailed why Brown's performance has been so impressive, highlighting the maturity of the young defensive back.
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"I think as soon as he came into the team, I felt like he was very mature for his age, even being a rookie," Warner told reporters. "Everybody kind of called him like the young vet, even though he hadn't really been on the field much aside from special teams, he kind of had that presence about him since the day he got here. You can tell it's meant a lot to him, and he takes it seriously.
The All-Pro linebacker shed light on Brown's work ethic, applauding the rookie safety's dedication to improving while explaining the tremendous courage the 23-year-old displays with his willingness to be vocal on the back end of a defense loaded with veteran talent.
"So ever since he got that opportunity he's kept his head in that playbook and that iPad constantly watching film, constantly watching tape," Warner explained. "Out there making checks, making calls, and even if he's wrong, I'd rather have a young guy out there barking calls [rather] than having to tell him to speak up. So he's doing the little things right, and I'm really proud of him, man. He's going to continue to get better."
Brown set a career-high in snaps played during the 49ers' 42-19 throttling of the Philadelphia Eagles, playing all 72 snaps that San Francisco's defense was on the field for during the blowout win over the reigning NFC Champions.
San Francisco 49ers
Pro Football Focus credited Brown with six total tackles in Sunday's win over the Eagles, allowing just one catch for six yards in coverage against one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
Brown's continued development plays a crucial role down the stretch, with the 49ers in prime position to secure the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy in February.