You probably did not need the NFL advanced stats on the 49ers‘ Dre Greenlaw to know he was having a hard time in Week 8 against the Bengals. The linebacker was dealing with injuries to his shoulder and ankle, and more than once, he struggled to get back up after making a play. Still, he was on the field for 60 snaps, or 95% of the 49ers’ total defensive plays.
He thought he could play through pain, he said, because he was getting painkilling shots. But there was a problem with the shots for Greenlaw: They did not work.
In retrospect, Greenlaw acknowledged that while he thought he was doing the right thing by playing through pain against Cincinnati, he probably did more harm than good.
“I thought maybe if I got the shots, I’d feel better,” Greenlaw said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “And it didn’t feel the same. There’s no excuses. Once you get out on that field, you’ve got to go. It’s experience. Lesson learned. If you can’t go, you can’t go. My mindset — I’m always going to do whatever I can do to help the team. But I definitely didn’t help the team.”
Numbers Reflect 49ers’ Dre Greenlaw Struggles
Dre Greenlaw did manage eight tackles in the game against the Bengals, but he had no sacks, no tackles for a loss and no quarterback hits. He missed three tackles in the game, according to Pro Football Reference, after having missed four tackles all season.
In coverage, quarterback Joe Burrow targeted him six times and Greenlaw allowed five catches, giving up a season-high 28 air yards and an additional 43 yards after the catch, a consequence of his tackling foibles. His grade at Pro Football Focus was just 51, well off the 67 it had been against Minnesota in Week 7 and way behind the 87 he registered in Week 5 vs. Dallas. Greenlaw had missed Week 6 with a hamstring injury.
Of course, that loss to Cincinnati was the worst 49ers defensive performance of the season, one in which the San Francisco yielded season highs in points (31) and first downs (29), and gave up 400 yards for the second straight game, something the 49ers had not done since Week 7 of the 2017 season, Kyle Shanahan’s first with the 49ers.
‘Hopefully, We Can Get Some More Sacks’
While the 49ers’ Dre Greenlaw has not played poorly to date, the series of injuries he’s had have helped tamp down what he had hoped would be a breakout year under new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. He is blitzing more and getting more opportunities to get after the quarterback but is not delivering big-time pressure numbers.
Before the season, Greenlaw said he was hopeful that Wilks’ defense would open opportunities for him.
“I do hope so,” Greenlaw said, via 49ers Web Zone. “I talked to him as well, and just based off what we’ve been doing, there’s going to be a lot of ways that he’s going to be able to just match us up on running backs. And whether he’s calling it, whether we’re hug-rushing the running back, or whatever it is that he’s calling, but he’s definitely going to be sending us a lot more.
“So that should be fun. So hopefully, we can get some more sacks this year, for sure.”
They haven’t gotten more sacks, just 18 through eight games after tallying 44 last year. Individually, Greenlaw has gotten one sack. He was a full participant in practice this week, though, using the bye to get himself healthy. Hopefully better performance this week against Jacksonville follows.