Every locker room has a designated talker. Call him the voice of the team.
This player isn't necessarily the best player, but he's one of them. He also isn't necessarily the most articulate guy, but he's articulate enough to explain the big picture -- why the 49ers won or lost, why they're good or bad, what they have to do that weak to beat their opponent -- and he has the credibility and license among his teammates to speak the truth.
When I first started covering the 49ers in 2011, Frank Gore was the unquestioned voice of the 49ers. He spoke once a week at his locker, spoke slowly and in a soft tone, and gave the state of the franchise. Whatever he said was the way it was, and his teammates respected his opinion.
When Gore left, Joe Staley became the voice of the 49ers. Just like Gore, Staley spoke once a week at length in the locker room, and not just about himself. Staley answered questions about everyone and everything. He let you know where the 49ers stood.
When Staley started getting injured in 2019, Richard Sherman replaced him as the voice of the 49ers when they made their run to the Super Bowl. Sherman was one of the few champions on the 49ers roster, and he spoke from the perspective of someone who knew if the 49ers were on the right track.
But Sherman faded last year and hardly played.
So who's the voice of the 49ers now?
It's not George Kittle, even though he's hilarious press conferences. But his insights into the team and the opponent are fairly standard. And sometimes he seems more interested in going off topic than talking about football.
The voice of the team also isn't Mike McGlinchey, even though he talks like he thinks he's that guy. But he doesn't play well enough to speak for anybody but himself.
The voice of the team isn't Jimmy Garoppolo, either, even though he should be the voice -- he's the freaking quarterback. But he has nothing to say. He doesn't seem to particularly want to share any insights if he has them.
The voice of the team might be Trey Lance one day, but he hasn't played yet.
So for now, the voice is Fred Warner. And he's an excellent voice. He has the Joe Staley combination of intelligence, maturity and generosity that makes him the perfect spokesman for the 49ers.
Kyle Juszczyk is an honorary mention, considering his understands and articulates the 49ers offense better than anyone.
And Nick Bosa is another honorary mention. Bosa speaks less frequently than Warner, but is much more candid and willing to contradict the coaching staff's narrative.
Bosa has serious voice potential.