San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos week 3: Javon Kinlaw is defensive player to watch

The San Francisco 49ers defense shutout the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2, leaving the Seahawks’ offense to just eight plays in the 49ers territory. Now comes a Denver Broncos strike with the 49ers boogeyman in former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson and the company will be the biggest test of the 49ers defense yet in 2022.

Here are the five players to watch as the defense looks for a recap of Week 2 performance:

DT Javon Kinlaw

With a backfield featuring Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, there will be pressure on the inside of the 49ers defense line. Kinlaw impressed on both run and pass early in the season with his three presses over two games. Denver’s two-man backfield has a combined 223 yards on 44 carries, an average of 5.06 yards per. Williams was especially good in the middle, with 60 of his 118 rushing yards on runs between the guards.

LB Dre Greenlaw

Greenlaw played as a man who just got paid last week against the Seahawks. The veteran linebacker led the 49ers defense with eight tackles, one of which was a loss. It was a huge improvement from what we saw of Greenlaw in Week 1, where he was called up for two bad 15-yard penalties. Greenlaw will play a key role in the 49ers’ second-tier defense by trying to not only stop Denver’s running backs, but also keep Russell Wilson at bay.

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CB Mooney Ward

Ward intercepted his first pass as a 49er against Seattle, while allowing only six yards after the catch on five allowed receptions. Ward was most focused on Tyler Lockett, but didn’t give the Seahawks receiver much room to operate after his four receptions. The division and secondary will face their toughest test of the season so far against Wilson and Courtland Sutton, who were targeted 11 times for seven receptions and 122 yards against Houston last week. The 49ers will be able to take a break on Wednesday and Thursday with Jerry Jeudy who is out of training with a rib injury on both Wednesday and Thursday.

DL Charles Omenihu

Only Nick Bosa was better than Charles Omenihu at chasing the passer against Seattle last week. Ohemihu was credited with three presses, two quarterback hits and a rush on 28 snaps in the win. Russell Wilson always proves to be a tough test for the 49ers’ pass rush, even with the underpowered offensive lines he handled in Seattle. Likewise, the 49ers’ line of defense faces a tough test against a Broncos line with veterans Cameron Fleming and Garett Bolles in the tackles.

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DT Kevin Givens

With DJ Jones signing with the Broncos this past season, Givens was tasked with filling in for Jones as the third defensive tackle, and he has done well early in the season. Three of his four tackles against Settle on Sunday were lost by just six runs on defense. As with Kinlaw, Givens’ roles in flight situations can be huge when it comes to stopping Williams and Gordon.

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