Patrick Willis is one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL. His play has been superb since his first year in the NFL. Willis is also a very good leader. It seems like he always says the right things at the right time. His ability to be such a leader is the result of his having to do so throughout his difficult upbringing.
“The greater the struggle, the greater the glory.” That is a saying that Jim Harbaugh has used on a few occasions. If that is the case, the San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker is deserving of a great amount of glory. He has come a long way from his humble beginnings in Bruceton, Tennessee. Now Willis is one of the most respected players in the NFL. He is a locker room leader that is beyond reproach. Willis is a great example of how adversity builds character.
Mike Singletary, Willis’ former position and head coach shared what he really likes about him. “He’s a guy that had every reason to quit. He has every reason to hate everybody. Greatness is not about the guy that has all of the skill, the talent. It’s measured by all of the setbacks that you’ve had in life, having been able to fight through them and become stronger.”
Fast forward to this season and you will see a leader that always has a positive mindset. I asked him about the offense struggling and if that puts more pressure on the defense. Willis said; “Pressure is when you’re not prepared. I feel like we have the best defensive coordinator in the league and the best defensive coaches. We are always well prepared.”
He stood up for the offense. He said that regardless of whether they are struggling or not, he tells them to just go out and play. He mentioned how he always speaks positively about the offense. Willis said that he believes in the 49ers offense and that he feels that it will eventually catch fire.
This year, the superb play of Willis is not shown on the stat sheet. He does have 55 tackles and two forced fumbles. The speed that Willis has makes him able to roam from sideline to sideline like a heat seeking missile. He is a very sure tackler. Willis also has the ability to cover most running backs in pass routes. Keep an eye on #52 during Monday Night Football when the 49ers face the Washington Redskins. You will see a player that is fundamentally sound, full of passion and one that covers a lot of ground. Patrick Willis is the face of the 49ers.