Even though the San Francisco 49ers were a top-10 defense in several statistical categories last season, the unit missed a finisher.
The player who best suits that role went down with a torn ACL just minutes into the Week 2 win over the New York Jets. We haven’t heard much from pass-rushing demon Nick Bosa while rehabbing to get ready for next season.
NFL Insider Josina Anderson says she spoke with Bosa on the phone before his workout in Florida, and the 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year provided an update on his status.
I spoke w/ #49ers DL Nick Bosa (ACL) on the phone real quick before his workout in Ft Lauderdale, Florida today. Bosa says right now he still wants to lay low while he continues to rehab, but told me, “You’ll see my progress on the field next year. Tell them I’m gonna be better.”— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 23, 2021
This is obviously exciting to hear for Niners fans. The mood after Bosa went down was as depressing as can be for The Faithful. Even though San Francisco pummeled the Jets, the sinking feeling remained for quite some time.
Bosa was excellent during his rookie campaign. The No. 2 overall pick from the 2019 NFL Draft finished the season with 47 tackles, 9 sacks, 25 QB hits, and 80 total pressures. Pro Football Focus gave Bosa an 86.7 overall grade in 2019, the fourth-highest of any rookie EDGE rushers since the site began tracking player stats.
The 23-year-old has the repertoire of a polished veteran. Bosa can use a variety of pass-rushing moves to beat defenders and can use his lethal combination of speed and strength to get after the quarterback.
While the 49ers continue to be among the discussion as a possible destination for disgruntled Houston Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson, some have suggested the team should include Bosa in a potential trade package.
Chris Simms — who is one of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s closest friends — shared his thoughts on why the Niners would be hesitant to trade a defensive talent like Bosa during a recent podcast:
“I don’t think they would give away Nick Bosa,” Simms said. “I don’t. The defense is formulated around the pass rush. Dee Ford, it doesn’t look good that he’s going to be able to play. I don’t know where he’s going to be at. I mean, the injury has to be a concern. He was nonexistent [in 2020].
“Now, you’re going to lose Nick Bosa who really — we said this a lot — before the injury, Nick Bosa was one of the best defensive players in football. I don’t think Shanahan — I don’t think they would sacrifice that. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t think they would let go of Nick Bosa.”
Getting a quarterback like Watson would be an upgrade over Jimmy Garoppolo, but we saw how close San Francisco came to winning it all with a dominant defense in 2019.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles had the perfect game plan against Kansas City. Tampa Bay pressured Mahomes a Super Bowl-record 29 times and finished with 3 sacks. According to NextGenStats, Mahomes ran for 497 yards before throwing the ball or taking a sack during the Super Bowl.
Bosa’s return will be a game-changer for new Niners’ defensive coordinator Dameco Ryans next season. It remains to be seen what happens with veteran Dee Ford, but just getting Bosa back will make every player on the defense better.
How excited are you for Bosa’s return? Let us know with a gif in the comments below!