The beat writers reported that San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead did not participate in Thursday’s practice. The best detail came from The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, who said he saw Armstead leaving practice before it began accompanied by the training staff. NBC Sports’ Jennifer Lee Chan reported that linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and another player knocked knees during a special teams drill. Still, one would think that wouldn’t involve Armstead, who is a defensive end. There was plenty of speculation as to what the injury as, but we were going to wait on Shanahan before publishing.
Armstead has been playing on his fifth-year option and is seen as someone who is going to be getting quite a payday in the 2020 offseason. He already has ten sacks on the year and has been a beast in the run defense. His first four years were a bit more difficult due to him being shuffled around the line in the 49ers’ 3-4 and 4-3 defensive fronts. Once Kris Kocurek arrived as defensive line coach, Armstead’s numbers lifted—and Armstead may have been the biggest beneficiary of the hire. His performance has gotten praise from his teammates, including Richard Sherman, who said what everyone thought: back up the Brinks Truck. The knock-on him has been his durability; Of his previous four seasons, he’s only played a full 16-game schedule in two of them.
As it turns out, all that speculation was for nothing. Robert Saleh told the media that Armstead was given a veteran’s day off and did not suffer any injuries during practice. He’ll play Sunday against the Saints. Saleh called Armstead “one of the most violent defensive linemen in football.” Saleh also said Armstead means a lot to what the defense and was very complimentary of the defensive end’s skill set and versatility.
Dante Pettis returned to practice on Thursday. This comes a week after injuring his right knee. With Pettis back, I wonder he or Marquise Goodwin will be active. If last week and Shanahan’s words are any indicator, we’ll only see three wideouts on the field.
Richard Sherman reportedly moved around much better on Thursday. Shanahan said that the team “did some Mr. Miyagi stuff on him” and “hopefully he’ll be good to go.”
Dee Ford said he’s on tract to play Sunday after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury. “I feel good going into the game. I’m happy to be back.”
We’ll update this once the injury report is released, but we can all breathe easy knowing Armstead is okay.
Did not practice:
DE Armstead (vet’s day off)
S Tartt (ribs)
DT Taylor (elbow)
DE Ford (quadricep, hamstring)
TE Kittle (knee, ankle)
WR Pettis (knee)
CB Sherman (knee)
T Staley (finger)
RB Breida (ankle)
DT Jones (ankle),
WR Samuel (shoulder), WR Sanders (ribs)