clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Steve Wilks compares Nick Bosa’s commitment to excellence to Luke Kuechly and Brian Urlacher

Wilks was in Chicago during Urlacher’s prime and in Carolina during Kuechly’s first six years as a pro

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

If there’s a defender you’d pick in the NFL to have an encore season after being named Defensive Player of the Year, it’s Nick Bosa.

Bosa, after tearing his ACL in 2020, hit the ground running in 2021 and finished the season with 15.5 sacks and was instantly one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Generally speaking, it’s usually the year after you suffer an energy when you regain your previous physical form.

Sure enough, Bosa had 3.5 more sacks last season and 12 more total pressures en route to being named the Defensive Player of the Year. New defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is getting to know Bosa on a personal level. In Wilks’ mind, that’ll help him get a better feel for who Bosa is as a player:

“I think I told you guys this from day one. I’m about relationships, so it was more about trying to learn him as a person. And I think as you get to learn him as a person, then now you get a feel for the player and then you can put him in position. One of the things we talked about is just his commitment to this game and him still trying to get better, defensive player of the year and can I take the next step? Can I do it again? He has that focus and determination, so I just love coaching guys like that, it’s not about my status. It’s definitely not about the money. He’s committed to trying to be one of the best.”

The next step for Bosa is taking down Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5 sacks if we’re looking at it from an accolades' perspective. Bosa would tell you there are plenty of aspects about his game that he could improve upon, but that’s what makes these players the best of the best. They’re always looking to get better.

When Wilks was asked which players Bosa reminds him of, he mentioned two of the best defenders in the NFL since 2000:

“I’m going to say this first and I think I’ve already said this, I don’t like to compare, but I don’t really think that’s a comparison. You’re just trying to reference other guys. The first one who comes to mind is [former Carolina Panthers LB] Luke Kuechly, [HOF LB] Brian Urlacher, guys that just committed to that craft and trying to get better each and every day.

And all those guys that I just mentioned along with Bosa are about really trying to create a legacy and that was probably one of the things that I did talk about beyond just him as a person. It’s just, what are we building towards now, which is each step is towards Canton. I think that’s his mindset as well, but he has to stay in the moment each and every day, be where your feet are and take it as it comes, but ultimately, that’s his goal.”

Wilks was the Bears defensive back's coach when from 2006 through 2008. Urlacher was named the DPOY in 2005 and was an All-Pro in ‘05 and ‘06, so Wilks saw his work ethic first-hand. Then, he was in Carolina during Kuechly’s first six years as a pro.