Most people who have watched any of the second and third preseason games for the San Francisco 49ers have remarked at how well NaVorro Bowman has played after sitting out for over a year following a gruesome knee injury in the January 2014 NFC Championship game vs. Seattle. He played the first three snaps vs. Dallas and had three tackles, two for a loss. He played a surprising 42 snaps vs. Denver and he recorded seven solo tackles, two for a loss, two assists, two sacks and two QB hits. Head coach Jim Tomsula said of Bowman's extended playing time, "I just wanted to read him out there and he was just having a blast so we kept him out there. I had him playing around 10 snaps but he had a great look in his eyes. It was good for him."
49er fans everywhere are ecstatic, already calling for him to be named comeback player of the year. Bowman, however, still isn't happy with his production. After the game, Bowman spook with the media.
On taking more reps as the season opener approaches:
I'm going to have to in about two weeks, so I just wanted to see if the knee could stay loose and stay ready. I did a couple three and outs and [played a few] different series, and it responded well.
On the elevating blitzing schemes especially on the outside:
I leave that up to the coaches. I'm just out there executing the plays that are called. I'm just trying to help my team win. It's not anything I'm suggesting or anything like that. When my number is called I go make a play.
No brace today?
No brace today. (Huge smile) I took that chance and I felt great. I've been practicing without it. I just want to keep crossing those hurdles, keep taking the next step. It was fun.
On the play where he got kind of twisted up, is that something that needed to happen to improve his confidence?
Yeah, I know exactly what you're talking about. He tried to cut me and he got it a little bit - twisting around trying to get the ball out, I didn't feel anything. Those are the things I'm trying to get accomplished this preseason - twist my body in different ways - it's what I wanted to get accomplished.
On if Denver players talked to him about his recovery:
Yeah, they let me know that I'm playing well, that I'm a heck of a player. No one knows what I feel. I hold myself at a very high level so, all those things are great, but until I please Navorro, I'll keep working.
You're not pleasing Navorro?
No, not yet. (smiling)
Did Peyton say anything to you?
Just good luck, I'm a heck of a player, things like that. We both have seasons ahead of us and we both enjoyed the work we got done this week.
On if he knew he had Peyton once he dropped down:
He has some years on him, so I wasn't really worried about him scrambling, just getting the ball out. He protected himself and I just wanted to make sure I got the tackle.
What's it going to take to make you happy?
I don't know. I just, I know me, and there are some plays out there that I could have made that you guys probably wouldn't think I could make but that's what I mean by that. You know, selling out all the way and not thinking about it and I'll do that when the time comes.
About having any doubt playing 42 snaps vs. Denver:
I wanted to just get a half in, now i'm just worried about, ok, we go in for halftime, you know, how's it going to feel after we rest for about 10 or 15 minutes. Those are the things I'm thinking about, not really my play. Once I get it loose, I'm ready to go. We'll find out Monday night.
On taking pride in accurate blitz timing:
That's one of those things that make you a great linebacker, great blitzer. You have to be able to read up on the cadences that a quarterback likes to [use to] mess with you. If you can time it up, the pass rushing ability comes naturally for me so if the linemen can't get a read on me when I'm blitzing, I'm likely to make a play.
Bowman's work ethic is unrivaled and it seems he won't stop working until he's satisfied with his play, and even then I doubt he would stop. I can't remember how many times I, along with the rest of the Faithful, tweeted "Bowman is STILL in" during the half, but it is a welcome "issue" to have. He hasn't asked for volunteers to help him keep his knee warm and loose during halftime but I'm sure there wouldn't be a shortage of people who would volunteer.