49ers Hufanga is ‘everybody’s favorite’; Kittle debut nears; Armstead still out

San Francisco 49ers’ Talanoa Hufanga reacts after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

SANTA CLARA — Safety Talanoa Hufanga’s early-season impact on the 49ers’ defense is obvious.

“He’s probably everybody’s favorite player, just because of the plays he’s making,” defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said Thursday. “He’s definitely a spark of energy for our entire team, the way he’s played the last two weeks.”

Hufanga’s two-game start to his second season goes beyond his statistics, as impressive as they are: a team-leading 17 tackles (three for loss), three passes defended, one interception.

“He doesn’t hesitate because of his preparation throughout the week. That’s what allows him to light up on game day,” Ryans added. “That’s the culmination of all the prep he’s done in the background when no one’s watching.”

That would be in the film room. He’ll watch with his coaches, he’ll come on off-days to watch more, and, at home, he’s reviewing even more, because, “you can’t get enough of it,” Hufanga said. “You look at the corrections, as well.”

The 48 hours after a game is devoted to dicing up film. Eventually, he moves on to study the next opponent, to get a day ahead of the team’s preparation. First and second downs are scrutinized. Then third down, then red zone, then any tendencies, intricacies and nuggets to…

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