49ers

Nick Bosa believes he'll be ready to play in Week 1 of 49ers season

Nick Bosa believes he'll be ready to play in Week 1 of 49ers season

SANTA CLARA — 49ers' first-round draft pick Nick Bosa was disappointed in not being able to stay healthy during OTAs and minicamp but he believes he will get enough reps during training camp to be ready for the regular season. 

Bosa initially was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain on May 23.

“I was worried when it happened,” Bosa said. “I was pretty down on myself that I couldn’t stay on the field but once I got with the guys and just had some of the older guys talk me up a little bit, it’s been super helpful.” 

Bosa believes he prepared well to return to the football field but he had two big things going against him. One was the busy travel schedule of a top pick, and the other was not playing football for nearly a year due to his sports hernia injury. 

“Injuries kind of come out of nowhere but I think I kind of prepared pretty well,” Bosa said. “It’s just, you can’t really simulate what football does to your body.  And for me to jump in with almost a year of not playing, the body is kind of, "whoa, slow down.’” 

While Bosa would prefer to be on the field with his teammates, he has taken advantage of his situation. He has been able to watch his position group work with coach Kris Kocurek while learning the scheme and picking up techniques from the veterans. 

“It kind of forced me to slow down a bit,” Bosa said. “But I think I’ve taken this time to just sit back and watch and I honestly think it’s been super beneficial for me because we have such a good unit. Just watching these guys play, just learning the plays and learning the scheme, because it’s really similar to what I used to do but [also] a lot different.”  

One of the players that Bosa has been focusing on is Arik Armstead, who he says has stood out to him during the offseason. Bosa has also been picking the brain of Dee Ford and taking notes on Solomon Thomas. 

"He’s probably having the best camp out of anyone that I’ve noticed,” Bosa said of Armstead. “He’s just playing out of his mind right now and I’m excited to see what he does during the year. And he plays the big end too so I’m just watching him and Dee and Solly. Just great examples for me.”  

Ford’s football philosophy and specificity have made an impression on Bosa. It has influenced the way he looks at his position. 

“Just seeing a vet, just how he goes about his craft and how much he actually loves football,” Bosa said. “It’s pretty fun to watch. You don’t really get that in college. He works his craft. He only does a few things, but those things are unbelievable. That’s all you need. Master a few things. I’ve learned that from him.”  

Bosa is confident that he will be ready to go for training camp. He will remain in Santa Clara one more week, with the other rookies working with the strength and conditioning staff before heading back home to Florida. There he plans to work out with his brother, Chargers d-lineman Joey Bosa, who had a hamstring injury his rookie year as well. 

“I think I’m going to be just fine,” Nick Bosa said. "I’m going to get this hammy perfectly right and I think there will be plenty of time to play football and get the reps that I need.” 

[RELATED: Jimmy G ends minicamp with TD, but offseason work not done]

Bosa added that it won’t take long to get his confidence back when he’s on the field.  

“Probably just a couple of weeks of practice just getting those reps over and over again,” Bosa said. “Obviously you can keep improving from there. And I’m missing a little of that now but I think camp will be plenty of time, and preseason.” 

How Patriots trading Jimmy Garoppolo earlier would've affected 49ers

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USATSI

How Patriots trading Jimmy Garoppolo earlier would've affected 49ers

The New England Patriots' ideal Tom Brady successor is the franchise quarterback for Brady's childhood team.

The Patriots dealt Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round draft pick in 2017, to coach Bill Belichick's reported chagrin. He envisioned Garoppolo leading the Patriots into another decade of dominance, but owner Robert Kraft ordered Belichick to trade Garoppolo and keep Brady, ESPN's Seth Wickersham reported in 2018.

Neither Brady nor Garoppolo will be in New England when the 2020 season starts, as the former signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (that's still weird to type and say out loud) as a free agent last month. The Patriots' QB depth chart currently consists of Jarrett Stidham and former 49er Brian Hoyer, which doesn't exactly inspire dynasty-building confidence.

That left NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry to wonder if the Patriots would've been better off trading Garoppolo sooner, when then-Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson stopped just shy of holding a neon sign over his head indicating he would trade the No. 12 pick before that year's draft for Garoppolo.

"On its face, making that move made sense for both sides," Perry wrote Friday. "The Browns were desperate for a competent quarterback. They were flush with picks. The Patriots, meanwhile, didn't have a first or a second-rounder that spring. For them, trading Garoppolo with a year left on his contract represented an opportunity to bolster their 2017 rookie haul with a top-15 talent."

The ripple effects, as Perry noted would've been far-reaching.

Jackson would've had his quarterback of the future, and thus the Browns might not have drafted Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall -- or even had the pick -- in 2018. The 49ers, who Kyle Shanahan admitted were focused enough on acquiring Kirk Cousins as a free agent in 2018 that they passed on Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft, then likely would've gone all-in on Cousins. The Patriots, then, could've drafted Deshaun Watson at No. 12 overall -- the same pick the Houston Texans used after acquiring it from the Browns -- as Brady's successor.

Thankfully for fans sick of New England winning titles, that didn't happen. It's also fair to wonder if any of the teams involved other than the Patriots actually were better off.

Acquiring Garoppolo could've saved Jackson's job in the short-term, but the Browns didn't become a team who failed to meet lofty expectations until after Jackson's firing. The 49ers, had they signed Cousins to the same contract he signed with the Vikings in 2018, would've had more flexibility in the first season but less in the second when compared to Garoppolo's extension. Neither Cousins nor Garoppolo is a clear upgrade over the other, and it's not like you can guarantee Cousins wouldn't have torn his ACL in 2018, either.

[RELATED: Kittle's 49ers rise didn't shock fellow Iowa star Hanks at all]

The Patriots can (and surely will) kick themselves all they want for not maximizing Garoppolo's trade return, but the Browns might not view a hypothetical Garoppolo deal with the same regret since that still would've meant not picking Watson.

The 49ers, assuming they still signed Cousins, surely would've been happy either way.

George Kittle's 49ers rise didn't shock fellow Iowa star Merton Hanks

George Kittle's 49ers rise didn't shock fellow Iowa star Merton Hanks

Tight end George Kittle already is the 49ers’ best fifth-round draft pick since 1991.

Kittle has picked up two Pro Bowl selections and a First-Team All-Pro award in his first three NFL seasons. The 49ers have not experienced that kind of success from a player in the fifth round since the selection of defensive back Merton Hanks, a four-time Pro Bowl player and starter on the 49ers’ Super Bowl champion team in the 1994 season.

Kittle, like Hanks, played college ball at Iowa.

“I think that’s a great symmetry,” Hanks said this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“The 49ers do pretty well with fifth-round draft picks from the University of Iowa. We tend to knock it out of the park a little bit there.”

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Hanks, who now works as senior associate commissioner of Conference USA, described himself as a first-round talent who fell in the draft due to a bad performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. He apparently scared teams with his reported time of 4.77 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Kittle had an impressive combine. He had all the measurables, but he did not post great numbers as a pass-catcher during his four-year college career. In 25 games over four seasons, Kittle caught just 48 passes for 737 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In his first 45 regular-season games with the 49ers, Kittle has 216 catches for 2,945 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“I can’t say I’m surprised at all,” said Hanks, who referred to Iowa as “Tight Ends U."

[RELATED: How ex-49er Merton Hanks channeled 'Sesame Street' in iconic dance]

Iowa produced two tight ends in the first round of the 2019 draft: T.J. Hockenson, chosen No. 8 overall by the Detroit Lions, and Noah Fant, whom the Denver Broncos picked at No. 20.

“Coach (Kirk) Ferentz had NFL ties," Hanks added. "He understands the NFL game and what tight ends have to do to be successful, not only on the collegiate level, but the NFL level.”