SANTA CLARA — Nick Bosa is a candidate for both Comeback and Defensive Player of the Year but the 49ers star has other goals in his sights.
Bosa has recorded a career-best 14 sacks on the season through Week 14 and is on pace for 17 on the season. As the year has progressed after his return from a devastating ACL injury, the defensive end’s production has continued to rise. Prior to the 49ers' Week 6 bye, Bosa recorded five quarterback sacks and has racked up an additional nine takedowns since.
The star pass rusher’s second half of the season surge makes breaking the 49ers single-season sack record a viable possibility. That record is currently held by Aldon Smith.
“It’s 19 and a half, Aldon,” Bosa said immediately when asked if he knew what the record was.
“Yeah, I’d like that. Definitely would like to have my name on there for this organization but also just trying to take it one day at a time.”
49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans believes Bosa’s third-year performance warrants his name being in the mix for DPOY or CPOY. The former linebacker is very happy and thankful to have the Ohio State product on his team.
“He is having an unbelievable year,” Ryans said. “A lot of people forget the guy is coming back off an ACL and he continues to get better and better each week. It’s about one of the most impressive things I’ve seen from a player.
“Credit to him for the way he works, the way he practices. Football is important to him and it shows. There’s no doubt in my mind, no reason why Nick shouldn’t have some attention for Defensive Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year. This guy has done it all. He is definitely our MVP and I’m so happy to have him on our side just for everything he does for us.
Bosa admits he has hit his stride over the past few weeks. While he got over the mental barriers of playing after his ACL injury, it’s taken a bit longer for him to really feel like himself on the field.
Not only has Bosa been effective in getting after opposing quarterbacks, but the defensive end has also enjoyed being heavily involved in the team’s run defense. The 24-year old has recorded 42 total tackles, 34 solo, and a league-high 18 tackles for a loss. Bosa believes he still has room to improve.
“I definitely do,” Bosa said. “I think I’m still getting better as we go. I think today was my best practice so far. I kind of expected it with what I was dealing with, with the knee and I’m just glad I was able to manage it the right way and now it’s on the right track.”
Bosa revealed that 14 is the highest sack count he has ever had, not counting his sophomore year in high school where he recorded the same number. The tally has the pass rusher encouraged about beating Smith’s record.
“I’ve never had this many,” Bosa said. “Now I know I could get it.”