Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


‘I don’t think he’s at his best yet’: Kyle Shanahan evaluates 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 25, 2021 at 10:45 AM--


Nick Bosa has had an electrifying start to the 2021 season, which is great news for the 49ers after the star pass rusher went down with an ACL tear early last year in Week 2.

Bosa accumulated one sack, three tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits in Week 1, while only playing 55% of the defensive snaps.

In Week 2, Bosa was even better, earning two sacks, forcing a fumble, and getting two quarterback hits, along with a tackle for loss, all while playing 76% of the defensive snaps.

Looking back to his rookie year, Bosa had nine sacks, 45 pressures, an interception, a forced fumble, and 16 tackles for loss, warranting him for a Pro Bowl and defensive rookie of the year in 2019.

That raises the question: is Nick Bosa even better than he was as a rookie, despite coming off a major injury?

"Um, I mean, he was pretty good as a rookie," Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I still think Nick's going to keep getting better as this year goes. It's probably the highest he was as a rookie, I wouldn't say. Maybe the way he started off that year a little bit. But he started that year off a little banged up too. He had a high-ankle sprain, I think the 10th day of training camp or something. He didn't get much work with us until he got cleared to go a few days before that Tampa Bay game and still played well that first game; played well versus Cincinnati.

Shanahan reiterated the fact that Bosa had a limited training camp, due to recovery from the ACL tear and the high-ankle sprain, making his early performance even more impressive.

"I see this year very similar, but I don't think he's at his best yet. It's very hard to be when you can't go through an entire offseason, through an entire training camp. But he's good enough right now, and that's what's exciting — when a guy's playing at a high level, and you still think there's more. I think he thinks there's more too, and that's why, along with Nick and the rest of our team, the difference in what you do throughout a year is you start at a certain level, but you get to get better or worse as the season goes, and I expect Nick to get better."

Bosa takes on one of the NFL's best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers during the 49ers-Packers Sunday night showdown where he'll look to continue his dominance this season.

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