Week by week, the injury bug took a bigger and bigger bite out of the 49ers last season.
Jimmy Garoppolo's season ending short certainly was a huge loss. Everything starts with the quarterback, and Garoppolo only played six games and finished just four in the 2020 season. There might have been an even bigger loss, though.
Nick Bosa didn't even last two games in his second year as a pro. The 49ers' No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft tore his ACL early in the second game of the season against the New York Jets. San Francisco's defense spiraled without its young star.
"From Day 1, I never saw a rookie come in and totally transform a defense like Nick Bosa did for us in my last year there," former 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said to MJ Acosta-Ruiz on "NFL Total Access." "He was an unbelievable talent, and losing him last year was such a huge loss for that team.
"What he can deliver on the edge really sets up that entire defense. It allows the linebackers to play a little bit more downhill. It allows the cornerbacks to play a little bit more aggressive."
Bosa, 23, had a historic rookie year in 2019. He was named Defensive Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl after recording nine sacks, 25 QB hits and 16 tackles for loss. Bosa even added four more sacks in three playoff games.
As he continues his rehab, Bosa did report to 49ers OTAs. George Kittle says that Bosa has been "doing great" rehabbing in Florida, and the 49ers do expect the star pass rusher to be ready to go for training camp.
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Staley also has stayed in touch with his former teammate, and can't wait to watch him dominate once again as the 49ers look to return to contention this upcoming season.
"I've been talking to him this offseason. I know he's ready," Staley said to Acosta-Ruiz. "He's been training incredibly, incredibly hard. So, he's going to be a huge piece for the Niners, going forward."