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Tomlin: Despite Uncertainty, Steelers Preparing to Face Nick Bosa



Steelers 49ers Nick Bosa
FILE - San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) is introduced before an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Bosa made an immediate impact on the Niners defense after being drafted second overall in 2019, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year and helping San Francisco reach the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)

Just five days from the season opener between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, nobody is sure whether or not All-Pro 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa will play.

But the Steelers know all to well that even if a deal gets done at the 11th hour, a player like Bosa can be dangerous, and so are preparing as if they’ll see him on the field at Acrisure Stadium in Week 1.

“Yes, we are preparing for Bosa,” head coach Mike Tomlin said definitely during his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “It’s prudent for us to assume that he’s going to be there and prepare in that vein as opposed to being surprised.”

Tomlin said the Steelers’ own experience with T.J. Watt signing just before the start of the 2021 season showed him that an elite player does not need a long ramp-up to make an impact in an NFL game.

Watt signed his four-year contact extension on Sept. 9, 2021 and then had two sacks, a tackle for loss, five quarterback hits and a forced fumble as the Steelers upset the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 12.

“We were in a similar circumstance with a dynamic rusher a couple years ago in T.J.,” Tomlin said. “We got a deal done at the 11th hour. He showed up in the stadium and he was T.J. Watt that day. And so that’s what those guys do. They show up and they are who they are. And so we expect him to be there. It’s the prudent approach to take. And if he’s going to be there, we know the type of player that he intends on being. So that’s something to be dealt with.”

Bosa took Watt’s mantle as the best defensive player in the NFL in 2022. While the Steelers star was dealing with an injury, Bosa set a career high with 18.5 sacks, which led the entire NFL. He also had 19 tackles for loss, 48 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and 51 total tackles.

Bosa was so good, he finished sixth in MVP voting, in addition to being the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and earning All-Pro, All-NFL and Pro Bowl nods.

But Tomlin said that the 49ers are more than just Bosa, which is why former defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans became a head coach this offseason. They can be good with our without their star.

“They were the most dynamic defensive in the NFL a year ago,” Tomlin said. “They’ve got quality players at every level.”

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49ers Preparing for the Worst With Nick Bosa

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