LISTEN: Brock Purdy's MVP Case With NBC Sports' Peter King →
placeholder image

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Why 49ers Nick Bosa appears “sluggish” through two games

Chris Beno
Sep 19, 2023 at 9:30 AM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
After missing this year's OTA's and Training Camp in a hold out effort for a new contract, San Francisco 49ers All-Pro Defensive End Nick Bosa finally became the highest paid defensive player in NFL history, just days before the team's week one matchup against the Pittsburg Steelers. Bosa signed a five-year $170 million extension with the team.

It's easy to say Bosa's slow start in that week one matchup was due to his holdout and lack of football activity with the team this offseason. However, to say that sluggishness carried over into their week two matchup against their division rival Los Angeles Rams isn't entirely true. Far too often players (especially defensive players) are critiqued on stats alone. While stats help players earn end of the year accolades, they don't necessarily paint the whole picture.

Think back to when the 49ers first acquired veteran CB Richard Sherman. Early on Sherman was catching heat for his lack of interceptions. However, upon closer look the only reason why he wasn't getting those picks was because he had receivers locked up which prevented QBs from even throwing his direction. Stats don't paint the full picture.

That was the case with Bosa on Sunday against the Rams. Although Bosa didn't come away with any sacks, he still lead the team in QB hits and QB pressures. The only sack of the day came on a LB blitz from Fred Warner. The lack of pressure on Rams QB Matthew Stafford isn't an indictment of the 49ers defensive front, but more the lazy soft zone coverage of the secondary.

The soft coverage allowed Stafford to get rid of the ball quickly and underneath the secondary virtually all game long, until the 49ers made second half adjustments playing more man coverage. Typically, you see a softer zone coverage for speedy receivers like Miami Dolphins Tyreek Hill who has a 4.29 40-yard dash time.

A more aggressive look from the secondary forces Stafford to hold onto the ball a little longer giving the 49ers pass rush more time for the sack. Getting the ball out quick and underneath coverage eliminates the pass rush.

It is worth noting that once the 49ers made second half adjustments in the secondary, the defense forced two interceptions from Stafford; one in the 3rd quarter and the other in the 4th quarter.

The decision to play soft zone coverage the first half could be and indication that new Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks doesn't have the utmost trust in his secondary. He seemed to be ok with giving the Rams all they wanted underneath as long as it prevented the big play. The problem is it kept the Rams in the game.

The 49ers secondary placed 2nd year CB Samuel Womack III on IR after suffering an MCL injury. 3rd year CB Ambry Thomas was attacked by the Rams offense for much of the first half before being replaced by veteran CB Isaiah Oliver. It's also worth noting that the 49ers brought in former first round pick and verteran CB Bradley Roby for a workout.

One thing the 49ers have done in the past to hide the shortcomings in the secondary is get after the opposing QB with a strong defensive front. It'll be interesting to see what defensive adjustments are made going forward to ensure that the strength of this defense including reinging Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa get back to what they do best, which is sacking the QB.
  • Chris Beno
  • Written by:
    Coming from Elk Grove, California I grew up a Bay Area sports fan. I've been cheering for the 49ers for as long as I can remember. In 2005 I joined the Army when I was 18 and got stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I just kind of hung around here. I've always enjoyed writing and have typically focus on writing music. I am truly blessed to get to cover the 49ers, and have my articles published on the 49ers Webzone. I appreciate all of the Faithful that take the time to read the articles that myself and other contributors put out there. The 49ers have without a doubt the best fanbase, and best content creators around.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

Nick Bosa confident ahead of 49ers-Eagles matchup, surprised by Chase Young's quick impact

By David Bonilla
Nov 28

There was significant offseason banter between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles following the NFC Championship Game. While the Eagles came out on top, the 49ers felt they couldn't showcase their true capabilities due to quarterback Brock Purdy's early-game UCL injury in his throwing arm. The two teams have been on a Week 13 collision course throughout the season, with the possibility of meeting again in the postseason. Sunday's highly anticipated game will showcase two red-hot teams, offering the 49ers a chance to demonstrate what might have been. "I ain't going to keep going on about what could've happened and what would've happened, but yeah, it would've definitely been a different outcome," remarked 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel during the

placeholder image

Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave share perspectives on 49ers vs. Eagles

By David Bonilla
Nov 29

San Francisco 49ers fans would love to see their team knock off the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, avenging last season's playoff loss that ended their Super Bowl aspirations. However, for the players and coaches, it's just the next opponent on the schedule. The locker room remains focused on the bigger picture—winning a championship. The Eagles reached the Super Bowl last year but fell short against the Kansas City Chiefs. They beat the Chiefs in Week 11. "I mean, last year, it's over with," defensive end Nick Bosa told reporters before Wednesday's practice. "Neither team finished the job, so it's not like they're looking back and reminiscing on an NFC Championship win either. I'm

placeholder image

Nick Bosa praises Chase Young's early impact on 49ers

By David Bonilla
Nov 30

On Tuesday, Nick Bosa expressed his surprise at how rapidly pass rusher Chase Young has impacted the San Francisco 49ers' defense since the team traded for him last month. The 49ers' pressure rate has surged, and the defensive front has reached the opposing quarterback more regularly. Since Young's arrival, Bosa has recorded five sacks, a considerable improvement from the three he had before the trade. Bosa believes his former Ohio State teammate is developing into one of the league's most dominant pass rushers. "Just watching him on tape, I think he could be like one of the top elite pass rushers in the league. And he's starting to get the hang of the scheme," Bosa

placeholder image

Tough assignment: How Nick Bosa and the 49ers defense limited Jalen Hurts

By David Bonilla
10 hrs

On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers defense adopted a different approach against the Philadelphia Eagles. It involved a typically aggressive-minded defensive line being ... well ... less aggressive. The unit has had its problems when facing mobile quarterbacks, often struggling to bring down elusive signal-callers, resulting in surrendering some embarrassing numbers. They wanted to avoid that while facing Jalen Hurts, an MVP candidate who has amassed an impressive 2,328 rushing yards and 38 rushing touchdowns in his four NFL seasons. This time, the strategy was containment. The primary objective was to prevent Hurts from exploiting the 49ers with his legs, even if it meant sacrificing potential sacks. Passing up aggressively pursuing a quarterback can


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone