SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — After just a few days of practice, Nick Bosa is ready to make at least one conclusion about the San Francisco 49ers.
As much as they might miss retired left tackle Joe Staley, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s blind side will be well protected thanks to the addition of seven-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams.
“I’ve definitely told him he’s going to have some time on the left side,” Bosa said he told Garoppolo. “Jimmy’s been spoiled with Joe, and now Trent. It doesn’t get much better.”
After sitting out last season in a dispute with the front office in Washington, Williams expected to have a little rust when he returned to the practice field.
But he’s quickly gotten up to speed and shown why the Niners were so excited to be able to acquire him during the draft after Staley informed them of his plans to retire after 13 seasons.
“Trent’s been everything we’ve expected,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Trent is as talented of a football player that I’ve ever been around. I was fortunate to be with him his first four years in Washington and you never know how much a guy’s going to change, not seeing him in person and practice and stuff for about seven years, but he’s the exact same guy. Still the same athlete. Still moves the same, a very aggressive player. This has been his first time playing football in about a year and a half. Came in in great shape and, like our entire football team, is still continuing to get in football shape, but I’ve been very pleased with the athlete and I’ve always loved the guy.”
One of the highlights in practice so far has been seeing Williams and Bosa face off during one-on-one drills. Williams is one of game’s most accomplished pass protectors and Bosa is emerging as one of the top edge rushers after winning Defensive Rookie of the Year last season.
Williams got the best of the matchup Thursday but both have said the opportunity to face a top competitor each day in practice will only help once the season starts.
Bosa said he has encountered few tackles with the combination of size and athleticism that Williams possesses, comparing him to Seattle’s Duane Brown.
“He’s honestly not as tall as I thought he was going to be, which kind of makes him more difficult because he’s got a really low center of gravity,” Bosa said of Williams. “It’s tough to power him and get underneath him, which is something that I like to use to my advantage. He plays so low to the ground and he can bend so well that he’s never really up high and exposing himself to power. On normal moves that I would usually be happy about and probably beat other offensive linemen with pretty cleanly, he’s right in your hip pocket when you’re making the burst to the quarterback. Just his ability to recover and get back in front of you is elite.”
NOTES: DT D.J. Jones left practice early with a shoulder injury. There was no immediate word on his status. ... Shanahan said he expects C Weston Richburg (knee), DL Jullian Taylor (knee) and WR Richie James Jr. (wrist) to miss at least the first six weeks of the season on injured lists. ... WR Deebo Samuel (foot) and DL Ronald Blair (knee) still have a chance to be active for the opener. ... C Ben Garland (ankle) and CB K’Waun Williams (calf) are expected to miss a couple of weeks. ... DL Arik Armstead (back) practiced for the first time this summer but was limited. ... The Niners signed WR Jaron Brown, S Johnathan Cyprien, OL Hroniss Grasu and DB Evan Foster. To make room on the roster, the team placed WR Jalen Hurd (knee) on IR and waived CB DeMarkus Acy and LB Jonas Griffith.
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