With Brandon Staley taking over as Chargers head coach in 2021, Los Angeles’ defensive scheme has changed.
Edge rusher Joey Bosa‘s primary role will still be similar to what it’s been in the past — he’s still going to get after quarterbacks. But following the first joint practice between the Chargers and 49ers on Thursday, Staley said he likes what he’s seen out of Bosa in the new system.
“Well I think Joey’s a good example of a guy we really appreciate learning a new role,” Staley said. “I mean, even though his role is going to be similar — he’s going to be attacking the quarterback and attacking the edge of our defense — we’re asking him to do some things that are new, lining him up a couple of different places. And he’s just an example of a guy that’s poured into us. We’re pouring into him. And I think we’re trying to figure out each and every day where that sweet spot is and I think we’re getting closer. I think he feels like he’s getting closer. He feels like he’s getting into a rhythm.
“I think over the last week and a half — and then you can count this being two weeks — I really feel like he’s elevated his game. He’s really kind of honing in on his space within the defense and he had a good day out there today. Really physical, rushing really well. And I’m really happy that we have him, I know that.”
Bosa was a consistent presence in the 49ers backfield on Thursday, at one point swiping the ball from 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a two-minute drill toward the end of practice. QBs, of course, aren’t really supposed to be touched in those sessions. But as Bosa was going by Garoppolo, he couldn’t quite help what happened.
“He said, ‘Sorry’ as he passed me. He sounds just like Nick,” Garoppolo said, referring to his 49ers teammate and Joey’s brother. “It was kind of funny in my head. You’re upset at the time, and then you hear him say, ‘Sorry, Jim’ at the same time. It’s just a Bosa thing I guess.”
Joey Bosa recorded 7.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and 27 quarterback hits in 12 games last season. He has 47.5 career sacks in 63 games since entering the league in 2016.