Entering the 2021 NFL season, the 49ers defensive line was one of the most highly thought of position groups in the league.
With the return of defensive end Nick Bosa, who missed nearly all of last season after sustaining a torn ACL in Week 2, the 49ers' pass rush was expected to return to form in 2021 after a disappointing campaign the year prior.
So far that hasn't been the case.
Through seven games, San Francisco's defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks just 16 times. Certainly not bad, but nowhere near the level of production the unit had throughout the first half of the 2019 season in which they recorded 27 sacks through their first seven games.
Bosa joined NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco on "49ers Talk" this week, where he discussed the defensive line's production this season and what he expects out of the unit moving forward.
"I'm excited all around," Bosa said. "Offense, defense, I think the defensive line has a lot to prove. We're just starting to get our groove. Our acquisitions this offseason with Arden [Key] and Samson [Ebukam], and Jordan Willis is back. Arik [Armstead] is going inside a little bit.
"We're one of, if not the best units. Pass rushing, four-man pass rush, and run-stopping in the league. I'm just excited to put it on tape. I don't think we've had as many opportunities yet so far to rush the passer. I think with 10 games to go, we have a lot to show."
As we saw two seasons ago, constant pressure upfront from the defensive line results in a domino effect, benefitting the entire defense. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers offense can help keep its defensive line fresh by putting together long drives.
"It starts on the D-line on defense at least," Bosa said. "When the offense plays well it makes things a lot easier on us. It's definitely one unit, the ultimate team game. Now that our offense is clicking, it'll only help us."
Bosa and the 49ers defense will face off against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9, who may or may not have quarterback Kyler Murray who is battling an ankle injury.