SANTA CLARA, Calif. — From the moment the San Francisco 49ers used the second overall pick in the 2019 draft on Nick BosaCoach Kyle Shanahan has never doubted what he was going to get from his star defensive end.
When asked recently if he had ever coached a rookie who didn’t play or act like a rookie, Shanahan playfully went a step further.
“Bosa,” Shanahan said without hesitation. “Bosa has been a professional since he was three years old.”
After transforming the Niners’ defense into one of the best in the league as a rookie, Bosa suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in Week 2 of 2020. In 2021, Bosa bounced back with the best season of his young career, racking up 15.5 sacks. en route to his second Pro Bowl.
Three years into his NFL career, Bosa isn’t satisfied with what he’s accomplished. The loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV doesn’t hurt as much as it used to, but Bosa says he made him realize that he hates losing more than he likes winning. To a lesser degree, Bosa was at least mildly upset that he didn’t get a vote for NFL Comeback Player of the Year last season.
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Consider it added motivation for Bosa, who was able to spend the offseason working out with his brother, the Los Angeles Chargers running back. joey bosain Florida instead of rehabbing from a knee injury and appears poised to take his game to another level.
“It’s been completely different,” Bosa said. “Last year, I didn’t really do reps until a couple of weeks into the year. Just being able to go out there and get my body adjusted to football has been the most enjoyable camp I’ve ever been a part of.” .”
If Bosa can stay healthy, it’s not outrageous to think he could win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award and a lucrative contract extension that makes him the highest-paid defender in the league. That’s why the Niners are doing everything they can to protect him this offseason, giving him the occasional day off and making it clear he won’t be playing in any preseason games.
“He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen,” defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said. “Just the way he works and the way he shows up and makes plays, he makes it look easy. And I know it’s not easy. … One of the best D-ends in this league. And again, I’m happy for him because he’s coming this year, he’s not worried about rehabbing from injury. There’s nothing to worry about, just getting better as a football player, so it’s exciting to see where he’s going to go.”
That Bosa was able to spend the last six months training with his brother and not endure tedious rehab is no small feat considering the length of the Bosa brothers’ offseason regiments. Four days a week (every weekday except Wednesday), the Bosas trained near their homes in Fort Lauderdale. It included a 7am run, breakfast, and a trip to the gym that Joey built. They got up there until around 1 pm, followed by a stop in the ice tub before heading home to relax. Two of those days focused on speed training and lateral movements with upper body lifts and two others were geared toward agility drills and lower body drills.
Mixed in is a lot of flexibility and mobility work aimed at reinforcing the type of movements they make on the field. The idea, according to Nick Bosa, is to “build our bodies for a long season.” Specific pass rush training is also incorporated as the offseason progresses. For meals, Bosa has a personal chef who prepared a diet consisting exclusively of vegetables, fruits and meat without bread or pasta.
When it comes to Bosa, forget the “in the best shape of your life” cliché. It may be that the only person reporting to any camp in better shape than Bosa in 2022 is Bosa in 2023.
“Looks like someone literally recorded it,” left tackle trent williams said. “It’s like a sculpture. You don’t get like that just by waking up, eating cereal, and playing… It’s no secret why it’s good the way it is. I mean, obviously the talent is there, but the work ethic obviously improves performance.” talent”.
As a rookie, Bosa was second in the NFL in rushing (60) but had just 9 sacks. He was able to convert more last season, finishing with 53 pressures (tied for fifth) and 15.5 sacks (fourth). Since Bosa arrived in 2019, the Niners’ pressure rating is more than 6 percentage points higher with him on the field than when he’s not, and in the past five seasons, only Los Angeles Rams defensive tackles aaron donald He averages more pressures per game than Bosa’s 3.3.
That production has come despite an increase in the number of double teams Bosa faces.
In 2021, Bosa faced a double team on 25.9% of his 313 pass rush attempts, the second-highest percentage in the league. As the season progressed, Bosa began to find ways to make an impact even as he doubled down and created opportunities for his teammates to make plays, as the Niners posted 13.5 sacks on plays when Bosa had the early pressure, the fifth most in the league.
As a ton of contract drama unfolded around him this offseason, Bosa never voiced any concerns about when his payday might come. That’s because Bosa and the Niners haven’t been in a hurry to do anything. San Francisco likes to wait until a player has a year left on his contract before trading (the Niners exercised Bosa’s fifth-year option for 2023 in April). And if Bosa has the big year everyone’s hoping for, he’ll have maximum leverage in negotiations that are expected to coincide with a significant salary-cap increase.
“What I do know, as long as we’re here, Nick Bosa is going to be a part of the Niners and they’re going to pay him handsomely to do it,” general manager John Lynch said. “He’s got his time coming, and when he does, he’s going to get what he deserves because man, what a special player.”