Nick Bosa entered last season as a defensive player of the year candidate after winning defensive rookie of the year in 2019. Bosa, though, didn’t make it through Week 2.
He underwent surgery in late September after tearing his ACL and damaging cartilage in his left knee against the Jets.
The 49ers missed him.
Bosa has shared videos of his progress in rehab. He was sprinting, changing direction and doing cone drills early last month.
“[Bosa’s return] is huge,” Shanahan told Michael Irvin on Irvin’s podcast, via 49erswebzone.com. “There’s lots of good players in this league, and Nick’s only played one year. But I think everyone saw the type of player he is now and that he was his rookie year. Everyone saw that in college. He didn’t play a ton then, missing that last year and stuff. But when you have a guy at that level, and there’s not a ton of them, it changes who you are.”
Bosa has promised to return better than ever. He made nine sacks, 25 quarterback hits, 16 tackles for loss, an interception, a forced fumble and two pass breakups in earning Pro Bowl honors in 2019.
“Not comparing these guys, but the type of level guys are, if the Rams don’t have Aaron Donald, that’s going to be different,” Shanahan said. “If Denver loses Von Miller, it’s going to be different. There’s just guys on the D-line that there’s a few that are different. How J.J. Watt was in Houston, it changes everything. And when you can get good players around people like that, and you can have a good scheme, it’s tough to mess with because there’s not people in the league that can block those guys. You can hold on, and you can try to scheme and stuff so you limit the opportunities, but those dude’s aren’t getting blocked. It’s a matter of time. So, you better make sure it’s not a one-dimensional game.
“You better make sure they’re playing run, playing pass, playing play-action, playing keepers, because if not, and those dude’s tee off, it’s over. That’s when they’ll get the MVP.”