HENDERSON, Nev. — Nick Bosa has yet to report while awaiting a massive contract extension with the 49ers, so left tackle Trent Williams found another elite pass rusher to work against in Las Vegas.
Maybe the most awaited event of 49ers training camp practices is watching Bosa and Williams square off during one-on-one drills. Without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year attending camp, there has been a void, until Thursday when Las Vegas Raiders Maxx Crosby stepped up to the plate.
“I love it,” Crosby said on Thursday after practice. “Me and Trent had some great reps today getting after it. We were chopping it up after as well. He’s the best in the game so we had a couple of one-on-ones and a couple team reps against each other. That’s what it’s all about. I want to go against the best.”
Williams and Bosa often are seen in the locker room after games quietly discussing what they saw and experienced on the field. Both veterans have stated that sharing insight on what has worked for and against them sharpens their games.
Crosby and Williams had one of those conversations Thursday after their first joint practice.
“We were talking about my second on-on-one where I did an outside spin to a power,” Crosby said. “He was like, ‘I don’t even know what the hell you were doing out there, I thought you were going to go power and then it turned into a spin. I just grabbed.’ ”
The two star players will have another chance to sharpen their skills against each other on Friday. Most starters are scheduled to sit out of their preseason opener Sunday at 1 p.m. PT, so they will make use of every chance until then.
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“That’s what it’s about, just having that dialogue,” Crosby said. “The guy is going into Year 14, and he’s gone against everybody and he’s played at an elite level for years and years. I could learn from him and he can learn from me. Once you get to that level you’re just trying to find that one-percent to get better at. It was a ton of fun.”
Crosby closed out his 2022 season with a career high 12.5 sacks and led the league with 22 tackles for loss. Williams has been ranked as one of the top left tackles in the league for multiple consecutive seasons. Needless to say, their reps are like a game of chess.
“I want to be the best in the league and I know he is literally the best in the league,“ Crosby said. “Just being able to get those reps and get better is what football is all about.”