Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Shanahan explains why Nick Bosa’s return is ‘huge’ for 49ers

May 17, 2021 at 2:27 PM--


San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan expects to get defensive end Nick Bosa back in the lineup this season. The young pass rusher missed most of last season, his second in the NFL, after suffering a torn ACL during Week 2. It wasn't the only injury the team endured in 2020, but it may have been one of the most impactful — at least, on defense.

Bosa has been showing off videos of his progress rehabbing from the devastating injury, and the 23-year-old defender looks on track to return to full strength. And we all remember what Bosa was at full strength. He was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after a 2019 campaign that included nine regular-season sacks and four more in the postseason.

Shanahan spoke with Michael Irvin last week on the Hall of Fame wide receiver's podcast, and was asked what it means to be getting Bosa back this season.

"It's huge," Shanahan responded. "There's lots of good players in this league, and Nick's only played one year, but I think everyone saw the type of player he is now and that he was his rookie year. Everyone saw that in college. He didn't play a ton then, missing that last year and stuff. But when you have a guy at that level, and there's not a ton of them, it changes who you are."

Shanahan knows what it means for a defense to have a game-changing pass rusher like Bosa. He has to game plan for those types of elite defenders all the time, and knows that no matter how much you scheme, and how much you plan, those guys will eventually get through your offensive line on the way to the quarterback.

"Not comparing these guys, but the type of level guys are, if the Rams don't have Aaron Donald, that's going to be different," Shanahan continued. "If Denver loses Von Miller, it's going to be different. There's just guys on the D-line that there's a few that are different. How J.J. Watt was in Houston, it changes everything.

"And when you can get good players around people like that, and you can have a good scheme, it's tough to mess with because there's not people in the league that can block those guys. You can hold on, and you can try to scheme and stuff so you limit the opportunities, but those dude's aren't getting blocked. It's a matter of time. So, you better make sure it's not a one-dimensional game.

"You better make sure they're playing run, playing pass, playing play-action, playing keepers, because if not, and those dude's tee off, it's over. That's when they'll get the MVP."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below. It begins at about the 26-minute mark.



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