Even though the 49ers used multiple first-round draft picks on defensive linemen over the past few seasons, their front four was a point of concern.
So, general manager John Lynch and the San Francisco front office were proactive in the offseason, drafting Ohio State standout defensive end Nick Bosa No. 2 overall and acquiring Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
In an exclusive sit-down with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Greg Papa, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan praised a defensive unit that has been dominant through four games this season.
“Well, I think the one fact is everyone knows we’ve gotten a lot better,” Shanahan said. “You can see that in tape as a coach, and I think that fans can see that very easily, too.”
The Los Angeles Rams -- who will host the vaunted 49ers defense in a critical NFC West matchup Sunday -- rushed for more than 150 yards in last year’s season finale against the 49ers and were a top-five rushing offense in 2018.
However, star running back Todd Gurley has been banged up all season and will miss Sunday’s matchup, and the highly regarded Rams offense ranks just 22nd in rushing through five games in 2019.
“People underestimate how valuable it is for an O-line to play together,” Shanahan told Papa. “When you change a couple guys out, it takes time to gel. The guys they had before were there for a long time, [and] they have a couple new guys in there, and that doesn’t mean they’re worse players. It just means it just takes a little bit to get their rhythm.”
You can see the full sit-down interview on “49ers Gameplan,” as the new episode premieres Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Bay Area, and will re-air on NBC Sports Bay Area at 9 p.m. PT.