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NaVorro Bowman offers more on rehab, hunger, and excitement about new scheme

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NaVorro Bowman agrees with DeForest Buckner: both expressed their excitement about the change moving to a one gap scheme

The San Francisco 49ers defense was less than desirable in 2016 and the hope is that new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and his scheme will be a catalyst for an improved 2017 season. Both linebacker NaVorro Bowman and defensive lineman DeForest Buckner expressed approval that they would no longer be two gapping on the defensive side of the ball.

Buckner’s thoughts:

He said it’s more of a one gap control defense. Off the snap I’m not two gapping so I’m not holding onto blocks, I’m more avoiding now so I’m excited about that. I don't have to hold off a 300 pound man for two seconds and shedding and all that stuff so it’s going to be more exciting.

I’ve never been in this kind of scheme and being from, we were really reacting and stuff last year in the past, schemes I’ve been in the past couple years and just being able to just rip and run and just go. Everybody is definitely excited to get out there.

Bowman had similar thoughts:

No, it’s always good to go less. It was two gap for seven years and it’s my eighth year now so going to one gap and be able to check that off and go where the ball is, is always a great thing so like I said, coaches have done a great job of just expressing that I will have a lot of fun in this defense.

Bowman also touched on his Achilles recovery, noting that there have been no set backs thus far. VP of football operations Jeff Ferguson watched Bowman in the running test during the first day of the offseason program and thought he was moving well. He spent most of his time off in the Bay Area rehabbing but did sneak off to Las Vegas for the now infamous arm wrestling event. (A portion of the prize money will go to the charity of the victor’s choice)

Here’s Bowman’s full interview and you can watch video here.

Can you update us on the progress of your rehab?

Well, I did the running test today. Participated in everything today so I’m feeling good. Trying to get out the last kinks and make sure I’m ready for minicamp coming up.

Will you be ready to get on the field in minicamp?

Hopefully, if Ferg takes the chains off, he watched me today, thought I moved around well, so I think I’ll be ok.

What was the progression like for you in this process?

It was good. We took it slow. In the last month I started ramping it up, doing more things, jumping around. The process has been great, there’s been no setbacks. Just looking forward to getting back out there, showing what I have.

Have you been around here the whole time?

I’ve been around here off and on, but I’ve been here for the most part just to make sure that they’re keeping an eye on the injury and I’m able to go in, just in case there are any problems.

What’s the feeling like now with Kyle and John?

It’s great, the energy is great. Everyone is excited from the coaches to the players. We understand that we don’t want to have any continuation of the past few years that we’ve had so everyone’s mindset is just putting in the work and being accountable, committing to the process and understanding that we do have a lot of work to do to get back to the 49er way.

How is it different from the past few years?

Just guys willing to commit, and wanting to stay stationary for a while and getting used to playing with each other and get[ing] used to being coached by the same guys and understanding a scheme that provides success when the season gets here. We haven’t really gotten too in depth with everything but today was great.

What are your initial impressions of the scheme?

It’s a scheme that has had a lot of success throughout the NFL for the past years and the coaches understand what I can do and they’re kind of making it likable for me. That’s always exciting knowing that I’m going to able to play my best and have a great scheme to play in.

Have you studied guys who have played in your position in this scheme?

I study all the time, but like I said the scheme has been evident throughout out the past few years. I’m excited that I understand how to play 3-4 and 4-3 so I’m looking forward to it.

Is there much difference for you going one gap?

No, it’s always good to go less. It was two gap for seven years and it’s my eighth year now so going to one gap and be able to check that off and go where the ball is, is always a great thing so like I said, coaches have done a great job of just expressing that I will have a lot of fun in this defense.

What has been wrong with culture here?

I don't know. I think guys just have to understand that we are pros and we have to be accountable to one another on and off the field. The 49ers is an organization that’s first class first and you have to remember that when you’re in the building and outside of this building. The goal is always to keep it going and if we’re not there, we are reaching towards that. We just have to move forward as an organization.

Did Kyle talk to you about how that relates to Tramaine Brock’s situation?

Yeah. It’s just a situation where you have to realize the microscope you’re under and guys have different issues in themselves but you have to always put the team first and think about the decisions that you make.

Has the league reached out to you about the arm wrestling event in Vegas?

They haven’t. I’ve seen the articles. You know, I was there, but I haven’t heard anything from the league so let’s hope nothing negative comes out of it but if it does, I’ll take care of it.

They shouldn’t be able to control you like that, I don’t want to get you in trouble but that’s just stupid.

Yeah, I have my thoughts on it but I really don’t want to get into it but I’m an employee of the NFL and it’s my job to follow the rules. Hopefully they understand that it was for a great cause and hopefully they will let this one go.

Are you good at arm wrestling?

You have to wait and see the show when it comes on TV.

You can’t give us any sneak peeks or results?

No sneak peeks no results, it will bring down the ratings I think. We want as many people watching as possible and tell me what you saw.

What are you first impression of DeMeco Ryans and how helpful will it be to have someone who played recently?

Yeah, it’s good man, just to have a guy that’s not been out of the league too long and understands players and the temptations that we go through and just to have him on the sidelines and pick his brain and things like that. I think it will be great for all of the guys. He’s excited to be here so I’m really looking forward it.

DeForest Buckner mentioned a difference with new strength and conditioning staff. Has there been a transition for you too?

Yeah. I think it’s always good to do different things. I think Ray Wright has a great plan. He understands exactly what we need as football players and I’m excited about it. Some of the things he has us doing we haven’t done in a while. I think for the young guys it doesn’t really take them too far away from their college life. It’s like a little college workout. When you’re young they can get you to do anything. He’s bringing that to the NFL level and I think it’s good for us.

Should Colin Kaepernick be employed right now?

I think he should. I think he's proven he can play at this level. He’s made a choice that’s kind of had a little bit of a back lash from it but I think he will be fine. I think someone will give him a job. He’s not a bad guy or anything so I think that’s what matters in the NFL, if you can play at this level and your characters is great. I wish him the best.

How does your age change your process?

I mentioned to the guys today, I’m hungry. I’ve been out of the game since week four, so any accomplishments that I’ve had before, none of that matters. I’m really back to proving myself and getting back to that level. Guys were saying, “What are you on? How are you moving like this so early.” I’ve put the work in and I think God will bless me with a great season.