Nick Bosa played just 67 snaps over two games in 2020 before suffering a season-ending torn ACL. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year hasn't seen game action since.
After Bosa sat out the entire preseason, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on KNBR that the edge rusher is healthy and ready for a full workload in Week 1 against Detroit.
"I'm expecting to see a lot of [Bosa]," Shanahan said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "I mean, he's been on a plan this whole way, coming back from his big injury and being ahead of schedule since the beginning. And he's gotten two weeks of practice in where he's been out here pretty hard.
"We didn't let him go in the preseason game, which wasn't too tough of a decision. His first year here, he didn't play in any preseason games either, and I thought he did pretty good as a rookie."
Bosa gobbled up nine sacks and 47 tackles during his rookie campaign, earning Pro Bowl honors as he spearheaded the Niners' postseason run. The edge rusher was the best player on the field during the Super Bowl, and if the Niners had edged out Kansas City that day, he would have been worthy of the MVP trophy.
The Niners learned what it was like to play last season without Bosa screaming off the edge. And it's not pretty. On the bright side, the ACL tear occurring on Sept. 20 last year set up the 23-year-old to return in plenty of time to be 100 percent for this season.
Shanahan isn't worried about Bosa knocking off the rust ahead the season opener.
"Nick is as prepared as any player I've been around on and off the field, so hopefully, he'll stay on course here, and he'll be Nick Bosa come Week 1," Shanahan said.
As for the man expected to play opposite Bosa, Dee Ford finally looks healthy again, per Shanahan. The 30-year-old played just one game last year after missing five games in 2019.
"He stayed here all offseason," Shanahan said of Ford. "He did a ton of the right things. And we weren't sure until we got to training camp, but we brought him on slowly, he's been consistent with it and he's been out there each day. He's gotten a lot more in camp this year than he did last year, and he's looked great in practice.
"So, our hope that we were going with now is more reality, because the way he looks out on the field, he looks like Dee Ford, and he didn't look that way in camp last year at this time. He kind of was just trying to tough it out. Now, he looks fresh, he looks good, he's feeling good, and hopefully he'll be able to carry that throughout the season.
"But, as of right now, it's a lot more than hope because we're seeing it with our own eyes."
If Bosa and Ford stay healthy throughout the 2021 season, the Niners' defense will be a wrecking ball once again.