The San Francisco 49ers plan on giving defensive tackle DeForest Buckner more rest this coming season, according to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee.
Buckner played an unseemly 1,005 snaps during his rookie campaign last year, and it wore on him.
“There were times out there last year where I was dead tired and they wouldn’t take me out,” said Buckner. “I feel like I’m hurting the team more staying out there not being able to, you know, live up to my full potential when I’m out there. And if I’m going hard and the coach pulls me out for a play or two to catch my breath so I can get back out there and be more efficient, I’ll definitely take that.”
At the time, defensive coordinator Jim O’Neill was not concerned with Buckner’s workload.
“The guys that we think give us the best chance to win, we want them out on the field as much as they possibly can,” said O’Neill. When they need a blow, we get them a blow. So we get them a break. But for us to win football games, DeForest Buckner has to be out there for 80 percent of the plays.”
However, new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh feels differently.
“When you look at a guy like (DeForest) Buckner last year having played almost 1,000 snaps — in my mind, that’s criminal,” said Saleh. “Ideally, all of them are working about 500, 600 snaps and trying to utilize everything they’ve got every snap that they’re on the football field.”
Buckner tallied 73 tackles and six sacks in 2016.