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New 49ers pass rusher Randy Gregory explains production drop with Broncos

Oct 11, 2023 at 3:12 PM--

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Last week, the San Francisco 49ers acquired pass rusher Randy Gregory via a trade with the Denver Broncos. The veteran defender was inactive on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys after returning to Denver to gather his belongings. However, he rejoined his new teammates on Monday.

Will Gregory be suited up on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns?

"We'll see how he is today," head coach Kyle Shanahan said before Wednesday's practice, the first of the week. "Today will be the first day we see him on the field, and we'll decide that over the next three practices."

The 49ers hope Gregory adds depth and production to an edge rushing group that already includes Nick Bosa, Drake Jackson, and Clelin Ferrell. Gregory has accumulated nine tackles, two tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits, a sack, and a pass defensed through four games with the Broncos this season.

San Francisco is counting on the expertise of respected defensive line coach Kris Kocurek to unlock Gregory's full potential.

During his tenure with the Cowboys, Gregory produced two seasons that saw him reach opposing quarterbacks six times. The defender recorded only three total sacks since joining the Broncos last year. Gregory doesn't believe that last season's knee injury in Week 4 (he returned in Week 15) was the sole reason behind his diminished productivity.

"I've been there for two years," Gregory told reporters on Wednesday after being asked what happened in Denver. "I've had two new staffs, and this staff, at the end of the day, I think there's a lot of moving parts, a lot of guys getting a lot of confidence on my side of the ball, probably in a stage where they're looking to rebuild, get some new leadership, things like that.

"And at the end of the day, ultimately, I wasn't part of that plan. So I think it's better that it happened this early in the season, kind of get me in a new place, get me acclimated, and get them going in their own direction."

Gregory emphasized his background in being part of winning cultures, dating back to playing the game in his youth. However, he admitted that culture was lacking in Denver, which is why he's excited about joining the 49ers.

"Being able to step in somewhere where there is a winning culture, they're winning right now, obviously, they got a lot on the line, and they're seeing the big picture for me," Gregory said. "... I just want to slide in where I belong, and playing on a team like this, and the history they have, obviously playing against them, I have a lot of respect for the staff and the offense, and a lot of guys I've played against since I was in a Cowboys uniform."

Regarding his health, Gregory affirmed that he is 100 percent recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him for much of last season.

"Over the course of probably the first month of the season, I felt I've gotten better," Gregory shared. "Right now is, obviously, the different defense. Won't be standing as much, and I think that's going to help me out as far as my knee goes, staying low. I think one of the big things for me was pad level, and being in the three-point is probably going to help out with that."

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