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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

49ers pass rusher Jeremiah Attaochu explains how MMA training has improved his game

Mar 16, 2018 at 4:37 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers hope Jeremiah Attaochu can be the team's next great pass rusher. He is hoping for a fresh start and an opportunity to showcase his talents after sitting behind marquee players like Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers.

Attaochu joined Larry Krueger on "The Krueg Show Podcast" and shared why he feels the 49ers were the perfect fit for him.

"I think the organization is definitely headed in the right direction," Attaochu said. "We have the right quarterback, and I'm excited to be a part of it. I'm just blessed that I had an opportunity to get in it when it's going."

The 49ers are in dire need of an improved pass rush. The defensive unit had just 30 sacks in 2017, which tied for 26th in the league. 6.5 of those sacks came from Elvis Dumervil, who is no longer on the team. The 49ers opted not to pick up his option for 2018.

Attaochu hopes to help the 49ers defense disrupt quarterbacks and sees himself as a natural at the "Leo" position, where he will compete with players like Arik Armstead, Eli Harold, Cassius Marsh, and Pita Taumoepenu. San Francisco's scheme should be familiar to him. Gus Bradley was his defensive coordinator last season. 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh worked within Bradley's defensive system during his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks.

"Definitely a lot of continuity coming into this defense," Attaochu told reporters on Thursday at the team's facility in Santa Clara.

Attaochu explained how he envisions fitting within Saleh's defense.

"I think the 'Leo' position, but honestly any position that is going to allow me to make the quarterback step up a lot because the guys on the inside are extremely talented and that's what I do best," Attaochu said. "That's what I did coming out of college, is make the quarterback step up.

"Now, I never always had guys inside that could get the job done. I always had to get it done myself. Now it's going to be a lot of fun having (DeForest) Buckner and (Arik) Armstead and (Solomon) Thomas and other guys who can really rush from inside and really get a push.

"I think it's going to be an exciting opportunity to just start working in OTAs, meeting guys, and getting ready to be a force. We want to have shooters on the field, basically like Golden State but when it comes to pass rushing."

Attaochu says he has been incorporating MMA training into his workout routine to properly utilize his "weight room strength" on the football field. He explained what he has learned from the training.

"Hand quickness on the field," Attaochu said. "The power of your punch, the torque of the hips really coming off your foot with the power of your feet. I think all those things combined. I worked on it a lot in San Diego in the offseason and would come in the season, and my hands would be amazing, so I think that's all part of the game."

You can listen to the entire interview with Attaochu below.

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