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Bowman Finds Ways to Improve

Posted Jul 26, 2013

NaVorro Bowman is not satisfied with his impressive track record.

As a two-time All-Pro inside linebacker, NaVorro Bowman has enjoyed plenty of accolades in the first three seasons of his NFL career.

Bowman, however, is not satisfied with his impressive track record.

“I want to get better and not get complacent with any of the success I’ve had,” the 49ers linebacker said on Friday.

So where does Bowman want to grow as a player the most? The player known for his run-stuffing reputation wants to get better as a pass defender.

“If I had to be specific, I would just say coverage,” San Francisco’s leading tackler of the past two seasons said. “Playing coverage is probably the main thing that I would want to work on, just keeping my hips loose and being able to check those quick, fast guys.”

Bowman plays all three downs in San Francisco's defensive scheme and roams the middle of the field in the team's dime defense. Covering all kinds of players is not lost on Bowman and fellow All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis.


“We take a lot of pride in covering wide receiver, running backs, tight ends, whoever,” Bowman said.

The 49ers linebacker will get plenty of chances to work on his coverage skills when training camp practices feature the always competitive one-on-one drills. Bowman will look to improve in that area of his game when he matches up in space against a quick runner like second-year back LaMichael James.

Bowman will also use camp to prepare for the zone-read schemes the 49ers expect to see in the regular season. Practicing against San Francisco’s first-team offense is good preparation for the unit, too.

“The option game brings a lot of havoc towards defense, the coaches definitely spent the whole offseason knowing we’re going to have to face the option down the road,” Bowman said. “It all comes down to reading your keys, lining up right and making plays.”

Behind Bowman and Willis, San Francisco’s backup linebacker spots remain up for grabs. That’s the assessment of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Bowman is doing his part to make sure the 49ers have quality depth at the inside linebacker position. The Pro Bowl linebacker is sure to share information with backups like Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody and Darius Fleming.

“Our room is unique,” Bowman explained. “It’s never really a bad group of inside linebackers. We’re usually the generals of the defense and we have to be focused on every single day. Those are the types of guys we have in the room, guys willing to learn, willing to hear any type of critique to help their team.”

Bowman is even more vocal with younger teammates as he enters his fourth season in San Francisco.

“Those guys are really open to learning the positon and the scheme,” Bowman said. “Vets are willing to give them as much knowledge as we can to help them out so it can better our defense.”

Fangio hinted that it could be two linebackers behind the team’s All-Pro tandem. But no matter who earns the backup inside linebacker roles, the goal for the season doesn’t change.

“It’s a new season, we have a lot of new additions to the team, but it feels to be back out there,” Bowman said. “We also have an ultimate goal to reach, I think that’s the greatest thing about it. Guys have been working so hard together throughout the offseason and we’re trying to reach that ultimate goal.”


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