49ers ‘war daddy’ Nick Bosa to challenge Cardinals’ Paris Johnson
Sep 29, 2023, 3:33 PM | Updated: 3:33 pm
(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)
TEMPE – After facing Micah Parsons and the vaunted Dallas Cowboys’ defensive front in Week 3, Arizona Cardinals rookie right tackle Paris Johnson Jr.’s task does not become easier in Week 4 at the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers feature one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL and it all starts with right defensive end Nick Bosa.
Right out of the gates to his career, Bosa tallied nine sacks en route to being named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019. In 2021, he rebounded from a torn ACL that cost him all but two games in the 2020 season by leading the league with 21 tackles for loss. Last season, his 18.5 sacks were tops in the NFL.
Bosa’s production was deemed at a high enough level for San Francisco to reward him with a five-year, $170 million contract extension prior to the season. His $34 million per year is the most by a defensive player in NFL history.
Johnson Jr., the Cardinals’ first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, will be tasked with trying to halt Bosa from applying pressure to quarterback Joshua Dobbs.
Johnson Jr., who like Bosa played for Ohio State, said he is looking forward to facing the Buckeye great.
“I respect him as a pass rusher,” Johnson Jr. said. “He’s another guy I’ve been looking forward to going against. I looked up to him as an Ohio State guy when I was in high school as that all-world guy. So of course for me, I’m excited for this. He’s a good player. He’s strong. He’s athletic.”
Johnson Jr. also said that watching the tape on Bosa reminds him of what he faced in practice at Ohio State because Buckeye pass rushers have similar ways of doing things.
Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon praised offensive line coach Klayton Adams for preparing Johnson Jr. to face Bosa.
“Klayton’s done a good job with that,” Gannon said. “I think psychologically, (Johnson Jr.) knows that he plays a premier position and he has to block premier positions. So, he’s up for that challenge. He understands every week in the NFL, they’re going to have a war daddy over there. And you got to be able to block them one-on-one truthfully. But I think Klayton gets him prepped.”
Cardinals guard Will Hernandez, who plays next to Johnson Jr. on the right side, said his rookie teammate is ready to go against the talented 49ers’ defender.
“That’s all we do during the week is prepare for the guys we have so he’s definitely gotten all the pointers, seen all the film, talked about it,” he said. “So, he’s going to do his thing. Paris is very good, too.”
Hernandez went on to say that Johnson Jr. has handled this week “very well” ahead of the matchup with Bosa and said he will do “great.”
The Cardinals and 49ers kickoff from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday at 1:25 p.m. Arizona time. The game can be heard on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.