In 4 plays"When it came down to evaluating the San Francisco 49ers second overall draft pick Nick Bosa
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, many critiques included something along the lines of “not an elite athlete”, or “doesn’t have a good first step.” If the problem for a player is “he’s not the same athlete Khalil Mack is”, then he’s probably really good. We haven’t really talked about Bosa for that reason. One thing I do want to highlight is Bosa and his ability to cover ground. I’ll use four plays from 2017 to do so.Second and third stepsOne area where many draft analysts fail at is putting too much emphasis on a players first step. The screenshots and GIFs look great when a player explodes off the ball and is in the backfield while the offensive lineman is still in his stance. I’ve made this mistake in the past plenty of times. I’ve also learned from that mistake. What I picked up on was that a players second and third steps are equally, if not more important than his initial step. It’s all about the ground you cover.Check out this play against Michigan State. Bosa is the edge rusher to the top of the screen.That’s why referencing 10-yard splits are valuable. Bosa ran a 1.60 10-yard split. For reference, Mack ran a 1.59. Myles Garrett ran a 1.63. Bosa’s 10-yard split is elite. This sack against UNLV is another good example. You can see the ground he is able to cover in just three steps. Being able to turn the corner that quickly is special. That is something the 49ers have been lacking. He may not get the sack on the play, but he forces an errant throw. Bosa did this all the time at Ohio State. Bosa brings consistent pressure, and that’s why he was the pick at No. 2.Play recognitionBosa wins a lot. One of the reasons he wins is that he picks up on what the offense is doing instantaneously. Iowa has some nice wrinkles in their run game. They also have some very good players on the offensive line. This draft cycle I tried to watch players go against the best of the best. T.J. Hockensen was drafted at No. 8 overall. He’s believed to be one of the most dominating run blockers in some time. Many compared him to George Kittle, which I disagree with. Watch Bosa on this play.Some of the best players in the NFL would run upfield here and take themselves out of the play. Bosa sees Hockensen trying to cut him off, and beats him to the punch. Speaking of punch, another critique is “he’s not as powerful as Joey.” Another silly statement. You can see Hockensen hop a couple yards from Bosa’s jolt. If his quickness wasn’t enough for you, being able to finish the play is icing on the cake. This play has it all. Staying cleanPlenty of college players are going to have production. Not all of it transfers to the NFL. The players that are able to keep themselves clean are the ones that deserve to be drafted early. That’s Bosa. When he wins, it’s rarely ever “a hustle sack” where the quarterback is holding onto the ball. This sack against Rutgers is a good example. You’ll see him being able to turn the corner in three steps again. Watch how easy it looks.What I like about Bosa is that he has a plan to rush the passer. If his initial plan doesn’t work, he has a counter. Not many pass rushers in college can say that.Fits what you want to doIf Bosa can’t fit your scheme, then you probably need a new scheme. That said, there were plenty of reps at Ohio State where Bosa rushed from a “Wide 9”, which the 49ers plan to use more of this year. That’s right up the wheelhouse of new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. This play is against the Baltimore Ravens 2017 third round pick Orlando Brown.While I think Bosa is better when when he’s right on top of the tackle, so he has true two-way go, he’s far from a slouch when he’s playing in a wide 9-technique. That just speaks to what Bosa can do on the field. There is a lot of value in having a player on the defensive line that you can line up just about anywhere and know he will win. That’s Bosa, and that’s why he was selected at No. 2. The Kansas City Chiefs are on an upward trajectory, their blistering start spearheaded by a young, transcendent quarterback in Patrick Mahomes who is already setting NFL records.The San Francisco 49ers are the opposite in every way.Not only were they soundly beaten in a 38-27 loss at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, trailing at one point by four touchdowns, they also lost their own franchise quarterback when Jimmy Garoppolo was carted off in the closing minutes with what appears to be a season-ending knee injury.49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said the team will know more Monday, when Garoppolo has another round of tests in San Francisco. But he acknowledged late Sunday that the injury appears to be an ACL."Any time you lose your starting quarterback," Shanahan said, "that's a big deal."The 49ers (1-2) signed Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract earlier this year after he led them to five consecutive wins to cap last season. And despite some turnover problems the first two weeks he had been pretty good, throwing a pair of touchdown passes against Kansas City.Everything turned in the fourth quarter, though, when Garoppolo scrambled toward the sideline. His left knee buckled as he cut back, rather than step safely out of bounds, and Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson delivered a wicked shoulder-to-shoulder shot for good measure.C.J. Beathard wound up entering the game
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, threw a touchdown pass that was wiped out by offensive pass interference, and never got to take another snap as the Chiefs put the game away.His next snap will probably be the first one next week against the Chargers."It' definitely a blow. He's a great quarterback and obviously a great leader," said Beathard, who started five games last season before Garoppolo arrived in a trade with New England."Just keep these guys together. Keep leading them," he said. "We had a lot of injuries today, not just Jimmy. A lot of guys went down today. Just a matter of keeping everybody healthy next week."Meanwhile, the Chiefs (3-0) couldn't be happier with the performance of their young quarterback.Mahomes threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns against San Francisco, giving him 13 on the year without an interception. That broke Peyton Manning's NFL record for the first three weeks of a season.Perhaps most impressive, though, was the way Mahomes spread the wealth. He targeted 11 different receivers, connected with eight and found three with touchdown throws."Pat lives for these moments," said Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley, who had one of the TDs. "I think he excels when the lights are on, and in front of big crowds. I think he's right at home. I think he's in his element. I think he's still growing into his role as the starting quarterback here, and we've just got to keep working with him and growing as well."As the 49ers and Chiefs roll into next week, here are five takeaways from Sunday:PENALTY PROBLEMS: The 49ers were whistled for 14 penalties for 147 yards, and that doesn't count a couple instances of off-setting flags and where they were penalized twice on the same play. That yardage total is substantial chunk of the 408 yards of total offense managed by San Francisco.SACK ATTACK: The Chiefs only had two sacks through the first two weeks, but Justin Houston had two by himself on Sunday. Dee Ford also had a sack before leaving with a groin injury, and Allen Bailey had another to help stop San Francisco's final drive of the game.RUN, RUN, RUN: San Francisco rallied on the legs of Matt Breida, who led the NFL in rushing coming into the game and had 90 yards on 10 carries, and Alfred Morris, who had 14 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown. With uncertainty at quarterback, the 49ers' ground game will be even more important.SPEAKING OF RUN: Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, last year's rushing champ, had his first two TD runs this season. He only gained 44 yards on 18 carries against San Francisco, but many of them came in the closing minutes, when he picked up two first downs to put the game away.MORE INJURY NEWS: The 49ers lost cornerback Richard Sherman to a calf injury, safety Adrian Colbert to an ankle injury, linebacker Reuben Foster on a tackle and backup defensive back Tarvarius Moore to a wrist injury. Throw in a shoulder injury to safety Jaquiski Tartt that kept him on the inactive list and San Francisco has plenty of injury problems on defense.
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