How Nick Bosa's added preparation has boosted eye-popping numbers

How Bosa's added preparation has boosted eye-popping numbers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA — Nick Bosa’s physical abilities have made him one of the best pass rushers in the league. This season, his preparation has taken the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner to another level.

Until this season, Bosa had readied himself for each contest with a game plan -- how he was going to rush, and specific moves he was planning to use. This season, however, the three-time Pro Bowler has become a film junkie and has tailored those moves for the individual players he will be facing each week.

Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans respects the work Bosa has put into making himself a better player.

“That stuff, film preparation, those things, that’s stuff that Nick is doing on his own,” Ryans said on Thursday. “Coach Kris Kocurek does a really good job of preparing reports for our defensive linemen, so they know their opponent, know who they’re going against, and then it’s up to the player, what they’re doing when they’re away from here and how they’re studying.”

Previously,  Bosa admitted film study would cloud his mind but this season, it has sharpened his focus. His production is proof. With two games yet to play, the Ohio State product leads the league with 17.5 sacks -- which also marks a career high.

“Some guys can look at a lot of things and process a lot of things and some guys can’t,” Ryans said. "I always try to tell guys you absorb what you can handle and what can help you when you line up on Sunday to where you have a clear mind and you have fast feet and you can go out and play as fast as you can absolutely play without thinking.

“That’s where Bosa sets himself apart, he can go out and play fast. He can react to something that changes on the fly just because he’s a very good athlete. He’s a smart and instinctive player.”

Part of Bosa’s heightened production in 2022 also is a result of his movement along the defensive line, especially in the second half of the season. The 25-year old has kept opposing offenses guessing where he will line up, which can result in double teams or a “chipper” being lined up on the side away from him.

Bosa has lined up on the left side of the line for 415 plays (62.7 percent) and on the right side for 243 snaps (36.7 percent). For the remaining three of his 661 defensive snaps, Bosa was lined up inside.

“Yeah, we want to move Nick around as much as possible,” Ryans said. “We understand how teams will try to game plan for him. He probably gets double-teamed more than anybody I’ve ever seen, so for us as coaches, it is on us to move him around and put him in positions to be successful.”

Fellow defensive lineman Arik Armstead has seen Bosa’s movement play out to the 49ers' advantage in real time. The eight-year veteran’s return not only has helped in run defense situations, but also his presence alone keeps offenses from being able to double team or chip Bosa on every play.

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“He definitely picks and chooses what side he goes to,” Armstead said on Thursday. “Certain matchups people are keying up on him, so if he lines up in the same area each time, it’s easy to know where he’s going to be. Definitely got to mix it up.”

Bosa has two more contests to put his name in the franchise record books, which seems like a reasonable goal for the pass rusher who is averaging 1.25 sacks per game over his 14 appearances in 2022.

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