The San Francisco 49ers held their veteran voluntary minicamp during the days before the draft with 100 percent attendance. That included those who ended their season early due to injury, such as defensive lineman Arik Armstead. He spoke to the media before practice on Wednesday, updating his status and describing the new regime that has taken over in Santa Clara.
Armstead explained that the injury that ended his second season in the NFL was a torn labrum in his left shoulder that he had been dealing with since high school. He detailed that in the past, he would feel better after rehabbing it and then would occasionally pop out of place on him. He re-injured it in last season’s training camp and several times during the season, and it happened though to where the only viable solution was surgery that took place before the 2016 season ended. He is excited to get on the field with his team without having to worry about treating or re-injuring it.
With the new regime comes a new defensive coordinator. Armstead, like his teammates, NaVorro Bowman and DeForest Buckner, is looking forward to moving away from the “read and react” system, and going to a one gap scheme. He noted that he doesn’t have a specific position yet but that all of the defensive line are playing in multiple positions for now while the coaching staff evaluates where each player fits best. There is a possibility that Armstead could transition into a LEO linebacker role similar to Seattle’s Michael Bennett. Although he has not spoken to Bennett yet, he will be working with him in Hawaii during the offseason with Buckner and Eli Harold in Hawaii.
Armstead has been rushing on the inside and the outside and believes his athleticism is what makes him a good candidate for the LEO role although he doesn’t have a preference where he ends up. He feels he can set the edge as well as running against the tackles with his skill set. Although he doesn’t believe the scheme was the issue last year, Armstead does think the more aggressive approach will help him get into the backfield and disrupt the offense.
Finally Armstead expressed how impressed he has been with Kyle Shanahan’s football intellect. “Kind of like genius, crazy the stuff he does, that detailed and he knows so much about football. You have to have an insane crazy passion for it and I think he does.” He described Shanahan’s brief film presentation to the team: “The picture popped on [the screen] for 0.2 seconds and he said a play that sounded like a paragraph. He memorized it. I don’t know how he does it.”