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Kyle Shanahan Breaks Down the Ascension of Azeez Al-Shaair

Azeez Al-Shaair has been one of the brightest spots on the 49ers.

Azeez Al-Shaair has been one of the brightest spots on the 49ers.

Before this season, Al-Shaair was nothing more than a solid base defense linebacker. He wasn't really a player you would run out too much outside of that.

However, Al-Shaair has been a shining light this season. When Dre Greenlaw went down with a groin injury in Week 1, Al-Shaair easily filled the void. In fact, he has done more than fill it -- he's added to it. 

Al-Shaair has a physical style that sets the tone, which is something the 49ers needed -- a player who can let the opposing offense know what kind of aggressive game it is going to be. 

And boy, does Al-Shaair let them know. 

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Seeing how far he has come as a fierce starting caliber every down linebacker is enlightening for the 49ers. It is impossible not to acknowledge his development. Kyle Shanahan on Wednesday brokedown the ascension of Al-Shaair in full at his presser.

“Azeez in college or even when he got here, I thought Azeez was always a kind of a splash player. Anybody who runs without hesitation and is very physical and is running through people and doesn't hesitate, those guys make plays. Now, sometimes they mess up plays too, because they're out of control.

"So I always think Azeez has made some plays for us, but I think the more reps he’s gotten in these few years, taking a starter role. I think him making mistakes, he’s got a lot less and the more that happens, the more confidence you get, and that's why he's playing at his best when he is doing those things."

The linebacker position could've easily unraveled once Greenlaw went down. Al-Shaair brought stability and improvement to it. Now, he still gaffs now and again. That is only natural. He is by no means in the elite category, but to have him alongside Warner is a sweet benefit for the 49ers. Throw in Greenlaw whenever he is healthy, then suddenly the 49ers have a fantastic trio at linebacker again.

Al-Shaair's ascension trend will need to continue against the Seahawks as he will be filling in as leader of the defense with Warner out.