Nick Bosa of the 49ers is ready to turn training ground health into his best season

Given the success he’s had in the NFL up to this point, it’s easy to forget that 49ers’ defensive end Nick Bosa wasn’t completely healthy by going on a retirement before this season. But, for the first time, Bosa is 100 percent at this point on the football calendar and could translate into his best season as a 49er.

Bosa got injured during his first two retirements with the 49ers after being selected with second overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, then spent the last offseason rehabilitating from a ripped ACL that cost him most of the 2020 season. But he still has two Pro Bowl selections in three years to his credit and performed a dynamite performance in 2021, scoring 52 tackles, 15.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

There are no injuries that Bosa has had to worry about so far this year, and as such he has been able to focus solely on improving. It is no coincidence that he enjoyed this year’s retreat more than the previous three.

“It was completely different,” said Bosa after Friday’s free practice. “Last year I didn’t do any reps until a couple of weeks before the year. So just being able to get out there and have my body adjust to playing football was the most fun field I was a part of because I feel good, which makes everything so much better. “

49ers manager Kyle Shanahan also has high hopes for Bosa this season. Bosa stood out for him during training on Thursday and Shanahan thinks his defensive star’s health could lead to improvements throughout the season.

“I was really excited with Nick yesterday that he got some team reps and jumped there,” said Shanahan. “He hasn’t gotten it since he was here. The first year, I think he got hurt like the first week here. The second year he got hurt too, but then he hurt his ACL in the second game , so he didn’t train last year until week one. This is really the first time I see him fully healthy, ready to go. I think his game can also improve as he trains. “

Bosa is also helped by the fact that he trains with one of the league’s best defensive ends during the off-season in his brother Joey. Nick and Joey both worked under the same defensive line coach at Ohio State college (Larry Johnson), but Nick thinks his brother is further ahead with the lessons the two have been able to learn. As a result, Nick can study his brother to figure out how to improve.

“Just his finesse, the way he squirms and uses his hands and how violent he is with his hands,” Bosa said of his brother Joey. “It’s just technically super with all the things we learned in college from coach J. He wouldn’t say it, but it’s definitely the teaching tape for the technique we use.”

The two choose to train away from their teams when they meet in their hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But when it comes time for Nick to return to the 49ers and Joey to return to the Chargers, they are both fully prepared. Shanahan doesn’t seem to be exactly sure what the two do during training sessions in Florida, but he doesn’t seem to care as long as it works.

“I have a good idea just talking to him about this and things like that,” Shanahan said. “I know he’s very close to Joey, so they like to spend that time together. I don’t know Joey very well, but I’m sure they’re very similar. They’re as busy in their craft as anyone else I’ve been around.” They have a plan.

Nick shed some light on Friday on what he and Joey do on their average day in the off-season, and it’s nothing too out of the ordinary. But this year was a bit different as the two made sure to take some time out on the ocean on Nick’s boat.

“Four days a week is pretty boring – wake up, run,” Nick said. “Joey built the gym in Fort Lauderdale, so we have our place to work out. I go home, I go to the pool, I go upstairs and read a little, I take care of my body. Weekdays are pretty much exactly the same. I had my chef come and prepare the food. Then the weekend, this low season was a lot of boating, so Saturday was our fun day. “

After training with his brother Joey, Nick has the luxury of taking on the NFL’s top left tackle at Trent Williams once he’s back in the 49ers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to face Williams every single day. With Williams skipping the first two days of retirement due to his son being born, Bosa tested the team’s backups. He gave him a chance to test some moves that he won’t attempt against Williams due to Williams’ ability to make those moves fail.

“When I walked in, just being able to switch sides and get a taste of every guy, because going against Trent is obviously a big help to me, but there are a lot of things I won’t be able to use against him because he brings away those things, “said Bosa. “So going against some of the backups, who are also good players, allows me to get all my tools out and hone everything before the year.”

Tackling reinforcements means Bosa may have a better chance of entering the backfield during practice and chasing young starting quarterback Trey Lance. But Shanahan isn’t worried about Bosa putting pressure on Lance due to his ability to stand up and cause no contact.

“I don’t care because Nick is such a good athlete that he takes the quarterback and then runs away,” said Shanahan. “So he’s definitely going to stop them for most of the plays he’s in, but he doesn’t usually interrupt the game. He’s one of the best guys to get there and not run into anyone. Most of the best athletes are. If I had 22 guys. out there like that, it would be a lot easier not to hurt guys. It’s also great not to always go against Trent. There are some moves that Nick wants to try, but he’s very smart. There are some things he won’t try against (Trent) that he could try against (Colton) McKivitz or he could try against (Mike) McGlinchey. He switches back and forth, so it’s good for him to change things. “

Bosa and the 49ers start their padded workouts on Monday, but says the workouts have had a lot of physicality this week even without pads. He helped him work on one of his goals for him for the 2022 season, which is to improve as an edge rusher.

“We’re hitting out there regardless of whether we have the pads or not,” said Bosa. “It’s more or less the same thing, but surely more power jumps will be used once the pads are applied. I like the pad-free days because it forces me to use finesse moves, which I sometimes stray from while playing. season because my power works a lot. In these two days of practicing I was able to work a lot of edge shots. It’s something I’d like to improve on this year, so that’s okay. “

However, while Bosa still has room to improve in the coming weeks, don’t expect it to change its game too much. He feels he is right where he needs to be in terms of capabilities, with the next step being the perfection of the areas where he excels. If he does, the 49ers’ opponents will have an even bigger headache than before when Bosa is on the other side of the pitch.

“I’m not going to add too many other things, I also think throughout my career,” said Bosa. “I think I have the tools. I just have to perfect everything. My brother and I did a great job this year, more than last year for both of us. Just watch him work and hear what he had to say about the moves we learned in college. and that we still use now and seeing the level he is at, using those moves reminded me that there is still a lot of improvement that I have yet to achieve. ”

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