49ers’ Nick Bosa sees path to ‘a good day’ against Giants in home opener

Bosa thinks the 49ers should have more sack opportunities when the New York Giants and Daniel Jones visit Levi’s Stadium on Thursday night

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Nick Bosa is ecstatic to see the Levi’s Stadium crowd for Thursday’s home opener. With no sacks through two games, he sounds even more excited to see New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in the stands, especially if he’s in the pocket.

“It’s going to be pretty much the opposite of what we just did with Stafford,” Bosa said, referring to the 30-23 victory over the Los Angeles Rams’ quick-throwing Matthew Staford on Sunday. “(Jones) can definitely hold it a little bit, and all we have to do is keep him in the pocket.”

“He’ll try to get out any chance he gets.” So we’ll just try to close in on him and be careful in our rush lanes, and we might have a good day.”

After missing training camp and the preseason before signing the NFL’s richest contract for a non-quarterback only two weeks ago, Bosa could use a good day — or night, as kickoff is at 5:15 p.m. — to jumpstart his season.

Maybe he’ll come through like he did three games into his rookie season, when he seized the “Monday Night Football” spotlight at home and recorded two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery against the Cleveland Browns and nemesis Baker Mayfield.

“It’s going to come,” defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said of Bosa’s eventual breakout. “You saw the effort there (last Sunday) and the push across the board with those guys.” Stafford was throwing the ball so quickly. It’s just a matter of time, it’s just a matter of time.”

Jones has thrown for 2.9 seconds in the Giants’ two games, including a 40-0 loss to Dallas in which he was sacked seven times. He was instrumental in their comeback from a 20-0 deficit to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 31-28 on Sunday. (By comparison, Stafford averages 2.65 seconds per throw, while the 49ers’ Brock Purdy averages 2.66 seconds.)

Jones is 1-14 when completing less than 60% of his passes, including a home loss to the 49ers in 2020 (53.1 percent, two sacks) and a win at Cincinnati (59.3 percent) in 2020. Bosa missed the game after suffering a season-ending knee injury the week before against the New York Jets.

“If we can put a lot of pressure on him and keep his completion percentage down, we have a good chance,” Bosa said after noticing the trend.

Jones’ rushing ability, whether scrambling or keeping the ball on zone-read runs, makes him especially dangerous. In recent seasons, the 49ers’ aggressive pass rushers have struggled against mobile quarterbacks.

Bosa is well aware. Bosa has done pool therapy and lifted weights in addition to hydrating and refueling to help his recovery and soreness from Sunday’s 63-snap workload. In front of a 49ers-dominated crowd at SoFi Stadium, he had three quarterback hits and helped pressure Stafford into a pair of second-half interceptions.

“Our fans are awesome on the road, but they’re also awesome here.” “I’m looking forward to our first home game of the season,” said Bosa. “We haven’t seen any of our fans yet.” I’m sure the defense will be mentioned (during pregame introductions), so it’ll be a lot of fun during prime time.”

‘A QUICK HEALER’ BARKLEY

Running back Saquon Barkley’s ankle sprain may not keep him out of Thursday night’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, as was initially expected.

“I wouldn’t bet on it.” “Just not yet,” coach Brian Daboll said from the Giants’ practice facility in Arizona on Tuesday. “We’re going to take it all the way up to Thursday with him, but he feels a lot better today.” I just spoke with him.”

Wilks stated that he does not anticipate Barkley playing, but that the offensive scheme will remain consistent.

“It’s unfortunate that Barkley is out, but all of those guys are capable,” Wilks said. “When you look at their offense, the zone read, that to me is their run game, and also (Jones) scrambling, buying time in the pocket, and doing things with his feet.”

Matt Breida, who played for the 49ers from 2017 to 2019, is a possible replacement for Barkley.

“We definitely have a good familiarity with him, and we’ll be ready,” said Bosa of Breida, who led the team in rushing in 2018 before being traded to Miami in 2020 for a fifth-round pick (right tackle CoKivitz).

IS AIYUK AVAILABLE?

Brandon Aiyuk has not missed a game since his rookie season in 2020, and his left shoulder may not keep him out Thursday night. Aiyuk and cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) were both scheduled to practice in limited capacity during Tuesday night’s light walkthrough.

SIGNS OF EX-COWBOYS STARTER

The 49ers’ in-season signings of veteran cornerbacks haven’t gone well, and they’re hoping Anthony Brown can be an exception after knee injuries to backups Sam Womack and Thomas in the last week. Womack was placed on Injured Reserve on Saturday, making room on the roster for Brown on Tuesday. Other recent cornerback additions for the 49ers include Brian Allen (2020), Jamar Taylor (2020), Josh Norman (2021), Dre Kirkpatrick (2021), and Janoris Jenkins (2022).

Brown spent the previous seven seasons with the Cowboys, making 69 starts before suffering an Achilles tear last December. He began the season on the practice squad of the Pittsburgh Steelers before being released on Thursday. Brown stated that he is “ready to work” after a 10-month recovery from a traditional Achilles repair.

Richard Sherman, a veteran cornerback who panned out after Achilles surgery, was signed by the 49ers five years ago. “He came back, too,” Brown said. And he arrived. And the following year, they won the Super Bowl.”

Brown intercepted a Jimmy Garoppolo pass in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ wild-card playoff win at Dallas in 2021, leading to the Cowboys’ final touchdown in a 23-17 loss. Brown had four pass-interference penalties in a Thanksgiving overtime loss to the Raiders two weeks prior.

“It’s crazy, just going from the Cowboys, a very big traditional franchise, and coming over to San Fran, another big, traditional franchise,” Brown added. “It’s a blessing, I’m glad to be here, and I’m ready to work.”

GRASS HAS BEEN ADDED

The grass at Levi’s Stadium was installed Monday and was still being manicured ahead of Tuesday’s practice. That leaves little time for rookie kicker Jake Moody to adjust, which may not happen until pregame warmups.

“Yeah, we’ll see how the grass is on Thursday night,” said Moody, who is tied for second in NFL scoring with six field goals and six point-after kicks.

The 49ers haven’t played at home since preseason games against the Denver Broncos on August 19 and the Los Angeles Chargers on August 25. Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Ed Sheeran have all sold out Levi’s Stadium in the last two months, with the latter drawing a stadium-record crowd of 77,000 on Saturday night.

AN ALL-STAR LINEUP

Count Daboll among those praising the 49ers’ cast and the roster built by Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch since 2017.

“Whether it’s McCaffrey, Deebo, Aiyuk, Bosa, Hargrave, or Warner, it’s a team full of Pro Bowlers or All-Pros.” “The list is endless,” Daboll said. “I’d say their team is well-built.” This team faces numerous challenges in a variety of areas.”

INJURY TO NICK CHUBB

When Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury on Monday night, it “brings things into perspective,” according to linebacker Fred Warner. “That’s as gruesome as an injury gets, and it honestly looks like a routine play: a guy goes low to tackle a big, physical running back, and something like that happens.” I’m not sure if anything could have been done differently in that situation.

“Guys will be asking, ‘Why did the defender go so low on him?'” Or, if you’re feeling frisky, ‘Why did he hit him in the head?’ Things are moving so fast out there. It’s not something you can slow down because you’ll get hurt if you do. You have to keep looking for ways to help protect the players, but it’s a really unfortunate situation.”

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