Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Nick Bosa on track to play Week 1; DeMeco Ryans talks plans for Fred Warner, Samson Ebukam

Jul 29, 2021 at 3:32 PM--

It's been a long journey back for San Francisco 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa. He suffered a devastating knee injury during Week 2 of last season and admitted the road to recovery was often "really rough" on him mentally. Bosa was entering his second NFL season and coming off an impressive campaign that earned him NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

The injury derailed everything. Luckily, he had the support of his family, including his brother, Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa.

"Once you get past the initial pain of [the injury], then there's really no other option but to come back better," Bosa told reporters after Thursday's practice.

The coaching staff has limited Bosa during training camp practices. The defender is vital to the team's future success — this season and beyond.

Everything appears on track for a potential Week 1 return. Bosa has reportedly looked good in his limited on-field work. He is feeling good too.

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"Since I've been out here, [my knee has] responded amazing, and we're going to take it slow," Bosa said, "but I'm very encouraged. ... I'm very confident in how I'm going to feel out there on the field this year."

Bosa won't entirely know how his leg will respond until he goes against an offensive lineman. However, given his progress so far, he sounds pretty confident that there is little reason for concern.

"Once I get out there and go against Trent (Williams) a few times, I think it will be a pretty quick confidence boost," Bosa said.

Bosa still deals with some soreness in his knee after workouts, but even that is subsiding from week to week. The defender acknowledges that the 49ers' plan to ramp up his workload slowly is probably for the best. However, he remains focused on being on the field with his teammates when San Francisco opens the regular season against the Detroit Lions.

"I looked at the schedule (when it was released), but I knew when it was an early injury that I'd, for the most part, would probably be ready to go for Week 1, and everything right now is trending toward that," Bosa said. "I'm hoping to ramp it up as I go and be ready to give it all I've got Week 1."

DeMeco Ryans is eager to get back Bosa. Ryans is taking over as the team's defensive coordinator following the departure of Robert Saleh.

"Its' great to have Nick back," Ryans said on Thursday. "We're all excited to see Nick and see him progress from his injury. It's good to have him out there. I'm excited, of course, to work with Nick and see what he can do. We know he's a great player when he's out there, and he's a game-changer. From my point of view, you love to have as many of those guys out there as possible."

The 49ers added some pass-rushing support this offseason to complement Bosa. The team signed Samson Ebukam to a two-year deal. Ryans envisions the former Ram being an "end on the open side," rotating with the defense's other pass rushers.

"Samson has done well," Ryans shared. "I think it was really important having Samson in for the OTAs, and him just getting used to our style and how we play on the defensive line. So, that was very helpful for him.

"Now, coming into camp, he's already a step ahead, and he's doing a really good job, so far, in the first two days. I'm excited to see where he'll continue to grow and progress and get better, but happy where Samson is (now)."

There was a report this offseason that Fred Warner might become more involved in the pass rush. Ryans was asked about his star linebacker potentially being tasked with creating pressure for opposing quarterbacks. While the defensive coordinator didn't confirm that to be the plan, he knows that Warner is capable of almost anything.

"He definitely has the ability," Ryans said. "I think in [2019], you saw we rushed him a lot, and he was very productive in [2019] as a pass rusher. So, he has the ability.

"Fred, you can call him the new-age linebacker. He does it all, whether it's pass-rushing, stopping the run, stopping the pass (in coverage). Fred, he can do it all, and I'm just happy to see him be rewarded (with a contract extension) for the work he's put in."

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