San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman drew plenty of criticism and had plenty of doubters throughout the course of the offseason, and he hasn’t done much to prove them wrong through three weeks of the season. Against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, Bowman was flat-out bad.
I had Bowman as missing a total of two tackles (Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat listed six, but I disagree with that number — Bowman was on the ground a lot, but those were not all missed tackles), and at least another two significant plays where Bowman took a poor angle and ended up on the ground.
The Rams ran the ball 32 times in 67 defensive snaps and Bowman still only managed the four tackles on the day. I thought he looked good against the Seattle Seahawks — not great, but good — and to see him struggle on Thursday was very disappointing.
Of course, it was a short week and Bowman is coming off an incredibly debilitating injury, so it’s no surprise that he didn’t look fresh on Thursday. Bowman himself admitted that he had a tough time getting up to speed, as noted by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
Bowman is being paid like an All-Pro linebacker, and through three games, he’s looked like an All-Pro once — against the Seahawks — and was outright bad against the Rams. I’m still a believer and expect Bowman will bounce back personally, but the NFL season is long and grueling, and while I understand short weeks can be tough, I worry that he can’t last.
We’ll have some thorough film breakdown of Bowman in the coming days.