No player has yet to emerge as the clear-cut frontrunner for the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor. For San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, he believes that defensive end Nick Bosa is the current runaway favorite for one of the NFL’s most coveted awards.
During a press conference ahead of the 49ers’ Week 14 home matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ryans took some time to make a case as to why Bosa deserves to be the top contender for this season’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
“I think he definitely is playing his best ball,” Ryans said. “You talk about someone, a guy who can change the game and affect the game the way Bosa does it. To me, he’s hands down the best in the league.
“You talk about a defensive player of the year type candidate. If it isn’t Bosa, I don’t know who else it should be. He’s put our defense in a position we’re in, we’re not where we are if it’s not for Bosa and how he changes the game, how he affects the quarterback, how he speeds up the quarterback’s timing, and he’s still able to get as many sacks as he has. He’s able to get to the quarterback, put him down, force the ball where we’re able to scoop and score.”
Bosa has continued to bolster his resume for this prestigious award. He currently leads the league in sacks with 14.5, and he has already tallied a career-high in quarterback hits with an astounding 34 through 11 games played.
As of late, Bosa has defined valuable for the 49ers, logging at least one sack in his last six games played. The offensive lines for the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins did not have much of an answer for him over the last two weeks.
“There’s just so many game-changing plays that Bosa has made,” Ryans said. “The past two weeks, you look at it. The play versus the Saints, he closes the game outright at the end of the game when we needed him most and last week, right there at the end again, he’s on the quarterback, knocks the ball out.
“You can’t speak enough about Bosa and how he affects a defense, how he changes the game, if you want to play great defense, you have to have a great edge rusher and that’s what we have in Bosa.”
Bosa was listed as questionable for Week 14 due to a hamstring injury, which forced him to miss each of the team’s three practices ahead of the game. It remains to be seen whether he will receive the green light to play against the Buccaneers.