49ers 2021 ‘Who is?’ series: Nick Bosa back better than ever

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Why Nick Bosa regresses with 49ers in 2021

Again, ACL injuries are tricky.

Without getting too deep in the medical side of things, typical recoveries take seven to nine months. Yes, that part of the recovery calendar has passed. But it also cut into Nick Bosa’s preparation time for 2021, meaning he spent a good chunk of last year and the current offseason rehabbing instead of preparing for all the rigors of the game itself.

And in some cases, a player may not fully trust the knee for the first full year back on the field.

This could be the case with Bosa, and it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see him noticeably more reserved and conservative with his pass-rush moves this season. He might not have the same sort of sideline-to-sideline movement skills, and that lateral movement could make him something of a liability, defensively, particularly in run defense.

Read More: Nick Bosa will need 49ers D-line reinforcements

Granted, Bosa is known for his pass-rushing prowess mostly. But his abilities as a three-down defender, including stopping the run, increase his value dramatically.

It might be a full season before Bosa gets back to that point. Also, there are plenty of examples where athletes suffer an ACL tear and never quite get back to that level of prowess they showed before the injury.

Let’s just hope Bosa won’t fall into that category.