49ers' Nick Bosa has yet to reach full potential, Kyle Shanahan believes

Shanahan believes Bosa has yet to reach his full potential originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Nick Bosa is playing the best football of his NFL career, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan believes the star pass rusher can get even better.

“He’s still young, he’s not perfect,” Shanahan said Wednesday with a little laugh. “He’s got four personal fouls this year. I told him that’s why his Madden awareness rating is 99, not 100. So yeah, he could get better right there. He’s playing at the top of his game. I feel like we could sit him these next two weeks and my mind would be blown if he wasn’t the Defensive MVP.”

Bosa racked up his second NFC Defensive Player of the Week nod of 2022 for his dominant performance in the club’s Week 16 win over the Washington Commanders. The defensive end racked up two quarterback sacks, seven tackles and a forced fumble, as well as a sack on a two-point conversion (though that last one doesn't count in the game's official stats).

Bosa also was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November after amassing 19 total quarterback pressures, including three quarterback sacks, and 10 tackles -- five for a loss -- in only three contests, according to PFF.

Bosa shared after Saturday’s game against Washington that he has been watching more film, specifically tailoring his rushes for the players that he'll be facing. Previously, the Ohio State product would have a plan that was less opponent focused.

The 25-year-old also has made it a point to play on both sides of the defensive line, which keeps opposing offenses from planning for him on each play. Not knowing where Bosa's going to line up at times causes a double team for the lineman on the opposite side of the field.

“It’s extremely disruptive because it’s every play, it’s not just pass plays,” Shanahan said. “It’s not just third down. It’s run plays, it’s every situation. He always has a chance to make a play, and he’s gotten really good at moving around."

Bosa has benefitted from having a full offseason without needing to rehab from injury. Shanahan believes it has helped the pass rusher have more time on the practice field, which has led to increased stamina as the season has progressed.

The fourth-year veteran and team captain has racked up a personal-best 17.5 sacks with two regular-season games still to play, and he has his eyes on Aldon Smith’s single-season franchise record of 19.5.

"He’s been great," Shanahan said of Bosa. "[DPOY has] been his goal since he can remember making goals, and I know that was a big thing to him this year, how excited he was coming into camp healthy for one of the first times and him just saying how much more he wanted to do because he was healthy."

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Bosa and Co. head to Las Vegas to face off against the Raiders and backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who has appeared in three games for club this season but will make his first NFL start against the 49ers.

The former Auburn quarterback appeared in eight games for the New England Patriots from 2019-2020, and he'll have a tall task in facing off against the NFL's DPOY favorite on Sunday.

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