The 49ers might have gotten their "closer" with the addition of pass-rusher Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
But former defensive lineman Ian Williams also believes the entire group of 49ers' defensive linemen is set up better this season to excel late in games -- and late into the season.
It all starts with what Williams, now an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, observed during the 49ers’ offseason program while watching new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.
Kocurek appeared to be in game-day form as he loudly exhorted his linemen to get off the ball during drills in May and June.
“He’s yelling at them so that in the moment in the game when it’s third down, fourth down, and toward the end of the game, you got his voice in the back of your head literally every rep,” Williams said on the 49ers Insider Podcast.
“He’s yelling at them to, ‘Get off the ball; get off the ball,’ at the top of his lungs. I don’t know if he’s going to have a voice in 10 years, but he’s going to be a hell of a coach for these boys for the next few years.”
The additions of Ford and Nick Bosa as edge rushers, the 49ers have three inside pass rushers to serve as part of a rotation with DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas. All three interior players, like Ford and Bosa, were first-round draft picks.
[RELATED: Nick Bosa's former D-line coach approves of former pupil's role in 49ers' defense]
Buckner led the 49ers with 12 sacks last season with a heavy workload. Williams believes Buckner will be even more effective with more rest through the course of a game.
“I hope they cut down on his reps this season because it starts to show later on in a game and later on in the season,” Williams said of Buckner. “He can take some of these reps off.
“They’re in prime position to showcase their talents. Solomon and Arik, they went in the first round for a reason.”