3 injured players SF 49ers have missed most in 2020

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, SF 49ers
Nick Bosa of the 49ers Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports /

No. 3 SF 49ers injured player: EDGE Nick Bosa

When it comes to defense, the SF 49ers have a philosophy that’s very simple in terms but difficult to execute: Have four elite pass-rushers on the field, so your remaining seven defenders can be utilized extensively in coverage.

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This has simply not happened in 2020, and the defense has taken a lot of steps backward. While the trading of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts last offseason had a role in this, the main reason the team hasn’t been able to get to the quarterback as often as it would like is the ACL injury to EDGE Nick Bosa.

Even in his rookie year, Bosa was the best pure pass-rusher on the team, plain and simple. He looked set to improve on the impressive rookie campaign that netted him a Pro Bowl and Defensive Rookie of the Year nod, but a torn ACL derailed that early on.

Bosa is the crown jewel of the defense, and only linebacker Fred Warner can lay claim to having more impact on the defense. The team has had injuries all along the line and no viable production to replace it (other than from reserve lineman Kerry Hyder, who may have played his way to a starting role proper in 2021) and Bosa is the biggest loss of all.

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The 49ers will need him to be back and better than ever in 2021, if the defense hopes to be as potent as it was in 2019 and get the team back to a Super Bowl-caliber contender.