Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Bosa ready for ‘another crack’ at a Super Bowl, says 49ers still have plenty of leadership

May 7, 2020 at 10:14 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers lost one of their defensive leaders when the team traded away defensive tackle DeForest Buckner in March. That doesn't mean there is any shortage of leadership on the roster moving forward, though. If anything, the significant amount of snaps last season for some of the younger players will benefit the squad as it gears up for another run at the Super Bowl.

Among those younger players is defensive end Nick Bosa, who is coming off an impressive rookie campaign. He racked up 47 tackles, nine sacks, two passes defensed, an interception, and a forced fumble during the regular season on his way to being named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Bosa added four more sacks during the playoffs and even reached Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV.

Bosa spoke with reporters via a video conference call on Wednesday and discussed the shift in leadership from players like Buckner to younger players, like himself.

"We still have plenty of leadership on the team, I think," Bosa shared. "But for the guys like me and Deebo (Samuel), and Dre (Greenlaw), rookies that played a lot, we're not just deers in headlights anymore. We know the routine. We know how an NFL season works. And now we can really just take the next step, and just work on honing our game and really studying our opponents now that we played them once."

Bosa knows that Buckner's presence, both as a force on the defense and a leader, can't be replaced by any one player. It will have to be a group effort.

"Just losing him as a leader, we're going to have to really figure out how to step up and fill that void," Bosa added, "because he was the third-down D-line play-caller. He was the hype-speech guy. He was everything."

Like many of his teammates, Bosa has finally moved past that heartbreaking defeat with a championship nearly in grasp. There is no doubt in the second-year defender's mind that he will one day be back—maybe even as soon as next February.

"Just like any loss, it stings for a while," Bosa said. "And then you eventually get over it and realize life goes on. You'll get another crack at it. But when it's that close, it makes it even harder.

"Just getting back to work, it's pretty simple to get your mind off something when you can go out and train your butt off and just prepare yourself. Obviously, it's been a little tough with what's going on in the world, but we (Nick Bosa and his brother, Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers) have a pretty good setup down here (in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) that we're still able to get our work in."

Despite stay-at-home orders amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that has forced some players to get creative with their offseason workout regimen, the Bosa brothers haven't been too impacted. They get their cardio in by running at a nearby park, and doing so before park rangers show up. Their father, John Bosa, owns a gym in the area, and that's where the two siblings head afterward to get in some weightlifting work.

How does Bosa plan to follow up on his award-winning rookie campaign?

"My expectations are always high," the defender responded. "I set my goals really high, and I've been achieving them. So, I'm just going to keep setting them high, and just keep working my butt off. I know the work that I'm putting in now is going to show up, and I think I'm going to be a much-smarter player next year.

"I'm just going to know how to approach my opponents much better, and I'm not going to waste rushes. I'm not going to make silly mistakes that I made last year, and hopefully enhance my game."

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