SANTA CLARA -- In his two games facing the 49ers defense in 2019, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was sacked seven times, but never by Nick Bosa.
The sophomore edge rusher believes he can change that statistic in the season opener. On Wednesday Bosa shared that the defense is much better prepared with an entire season of game film of Murray to study.
“We know what we are facing,” Bosa said. “Obviously, we knew he was mobile last year, but now we know where he likes to go, where he likes to roll out, where he likes to escape. Little things like that.”
In preparation, the 49ers will enlist receiver Richie James Jr. (5-foot-9) and rookie running back JaMychal Hasty (5-foot-8) to imitate Murray (5-foot-10) during practice. Bosa believes both are better equipped than Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard to imitate the shifty quarterback.
“We have Richie, I think he’s going to do some of the zone read,” Bosa said. “Hasty, our new running back, I think Kyle said they might come over to the scout team because Nick and C.J. aren’t cutting it with the speed.”
Bosa did get pressure on Murray, recording a quarterback hit when the teams met a second time. The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year’s nine sacks, however, were recorded while facing quarterbacks who tend to stay in the pocket.
Before the upcoming season, Bosa revealed his goal is to not think about sack totals as an end point. He and the rest of the team, while wanting revenge for their loss in Super Bowl LIV, is trying to remain focused on one game at a time.
“We just have a better plan this year of how to stop him and get to those 3rd-and-longs that we want to get to,” Bosa said.
Like Bosa, coach Kyle Shanahan believes his defense is ready to face what Murray brings to the game. They have prepared to see new wrinkles in the Cardinals’ plan of attack and knows it will be a cat-and-mouse game.
“Our defense knows what to expect from the personnel and you got to be ready to react to the new stuff,” Shanahan said. “He’s going to get some of his, but we just got to make sure to get more.”