Dee Ford didn’t have a bad first season with the 49ers, but it wasn’t as good as he hoped.
He battled some injuries and missed five games, yet still had 6.5 sacks over 11 regular-season games and added another in the postseason.
As a fast, athletic edge rusher, Ford provided balance to the work of rookie defensive end Nick Bosa on the other side of the line.
Still, it wasn’t a vintage Ford performance. In 2018 with the Chiefs over 16 games, Ford had 13 sacks and 29 quarterback hits; in 2016, he had 10 sacks and 17 QB hits.
This offseason, Ford – who said he had a “severe case of tendinitis” early last year after knee surgery, and then had a hamstring injury – decided to have a procedure to get back to being fully fit. Ford told an Alabama newspaper he had a “pretty extensive cleanup” of his knee by Dr. James Andrews in Florida and followed it up with an extensive rehab and fitness program.
“I feel great right now,” Ford said. “I’m able to actually explode off of this knee. Thinking back on it, I can’t believe I played a whole season on it. We knew at the end of the day what we had to do had to be surgical, but I didn’t want to miss the season. We had too much going on. I didn’t want to miss that (postseason). It’s in the bag now, though. I’m confident of that.”
In 2019, Ford was able to play just 22 percent of the 49ers’ defensive snaps, yet still be a force, drawing the attention of opposing blockers and even getting to the quarterback.
With his health back, Ford is looking forward to a big 2020. With six NFL seasons complete, he’s hoping 2020 can be his best year.
“This is crazy to say going into Year 7, but (the game) does slow down even more (with experience), which is scarier for me,” said Ford. “I was able to see a lot more. I was just a lot more confident. Just wasn’t able to stay on the field, so alleviating that problem’s definitely going to put me in an advantageous situation this year.
“I’m trying to rack up as many sacks and TFLs (tackles for loss) as I can and help our team get back to the Super Bowl.”