49ers’ Nick Bosa ready to turn training camp health into his best season yet


Given the success he’s had in the NFL so far, it’s easy to forget that 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa wasn’t fully healthy heading into training camp ahead of this season. But, for the first time, Bosa is 100% at this point in the football calendar, and that could translate to his best season yet as a 49er.

Bosa struggled with injuries in his first two training camps with the 49ers after being selected with the second overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, then spent the last offseason recovering from a torn ACL that cost him most of the 2020 season. But he still has two Pro Bowl selections in three years under his belt and put on a dynamite performance in 2021, racking up 52 tackles, 15.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

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

“It was completely different,” Bosa said after practice on Friday. “Last year I didn’t really take any reps until a couple of weeks before the year. So just being able to go out and get my body adapted to the football is the most enjoyable camp to have. I participated because I feel good, which makes everything much better.”

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan also has high hopes for Bosa this season. Bosa stood out for him in practice on Thursday, and Shanahan thinks his star defensive end’s condition could lead to improvements throughout the season.

“I was really excited that Nick got some team reps yesterday and jumped in there,” Shanahan said. “He hasn’t had that since he’s been here. The first year I think he got injured like the first week here. The second year he got injured too but then got injured at the ACL in game two, so he didn’t have to train at all last year until week 1. It’s really the first time I’ve seen him fully healthy, ready to go. I think his game can even improve the more he practices.”

Bosa is also helped by the fact that he’s been training with one of the league’s best defensive ends in the offseason, his brother Joey. Nick and Joey both worked under the same defensive line coach at Ohio State University (Larry Johnson), but Nick thinks his brother is further along with the lessons they were able to learn. As a result, Nick can study his brother to find ways 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. “He’s just super technically sound with everything we learned in college from Coach J. He wouldn’t say that, but he’s definitely the teaching tape for the technique we use.”

The two choose to train away from their teams when they reunite 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’re both perfectly prepared. Shanahan doesn’t seem to know exactly what the two of them are doing during their practice sessions in Florida, but he doesn’t seem to care as long as it works.

“I have a good idea to talk to him about it and all that,” Shanahan said. “I know he’s very close to Joey, so they love spending that time together. I don’t know Joey very well, but I’m sure they’re very similar. They’re as committed to their craft as anyone. who else.” I have been around. They have a plan.

Nick shed some light Friday on what he and Joey are doing on their average day in the offseason, and it’s nothing out of the ordinary. But this year was a little different in that they made sure to make time to get out on the ocean in Nick’s boat.

“Four days a week is pretty boring – wake up, run,” Nick said. “Joey built the gym in Fort Lauderdale so that we have our own place where we work out. I come home, I go to the pool, I ride and I read a little, I take care of my body. The days of the week are pretty much exactly the same. I had my chef come in and make some food. Then the weekends, this off season was a lot of sailing, so Saturdays were our fun days.

After training with his brother Joey, Nick then has the luxury of taking on NFL top left tackle Trent Williams once back in the 49ers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to face Williams every day. With Williams missing the first two days of training camp due to the birth of her child, Bosa tested the team’s backups. This gave him a chance to test some moves that he won’t attempt against Williams due to Williams’ ability to frustrate those moves.

“When I came in, just being able to switch sides and just being able to taste every guy, because obviously going against Trent is very useful to me, but there’s a lot of things that I won’t be able to use against him because he takes those things,” Bosa said. “So going against some of the substitutes, who are also good players, allows me to get all my tools out and polish everything before the year.

Facing backups means Bosa may have a better chance of getting into 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 get up and cause no contact.

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

Bosa and the 49ers start padded practices Monday, but he says practices have had a lot of physicality this week, even without pads. It has helped him work on one of his goals for the 2022 season, which is to improve as a top rusher.

“We’re hitting there whether we have pads or not,” Bosa said. “It’s pretty much the same, but for sure more power rushes will be used once the pads are in place. I kind of like days without pads because it forces me to use finesse moves , which I sometimes stray from throughout the season because my Power works a lot. These two days that I trained I was able to work a lot of spikes. That is something that I would like to improve this year, so that’s fine.

Still, while Bosa still has room to improve over the next few weeks, don’t expect him to change his game too much. He feels he’s exactly where he needs to be in terms of skill. , the next step being the perfection of the areas in which it excels. If he does that, the 49ers’ opponents will have even more headaches than before when Bosa is on the other side of the court.

“I’m not going to add too much, I think even throughout my career,” Bosa said. “I think I have the tools. I just have to perfect everything. Me and my brother have had a lot of good work this year, more than last year for both of us. Just watch him work and hear what that he had to say about the moves that we learned in college and still use now and seeing the level he’s at, using those moves kind of reminded me that he there are still a lot of improvements that I have yet to achieve.

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