San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead spoke to the media on Monday to discuss his teammates, speaking up about social justice, and where the 49ers could improve as a defense this upcoming season.
Armstead, on his first impressions of Javon Kinlaw and who is taking him under his wing:
Big, strong, obviously. Athletic guy. As far as who is taking him under his wing, I think me playing the inside, more of the defensive tackles are. He’s learning from everybody, but it’s on the more experienced defensive tackles to get him up to speed.
Armstead said he doesn’t anticipate any changes to his usage this year. He expects to play on the edge in the 49ers base defense and kick inside during sub-packages.
On where the defense can improve this year:
One thing we talked about, we were tops in a lot of categories, except run defense. We were in the middle of the pack, so we’re definitely looking to get better in that aspect.
The Niners run defense finished 11th in DVOA last season, which is above average. The defense finished with a 50% success rate against the run during the regular season, which was good for 21st in the NFL.
What are some of the ways Bosa could be better, and what’s his ceiling heading into Year 2?
I don’t like to put ceilings on anybody. I think very highly of Nick and think he can do anything he wants to out there. He’s extremely talented, and he works extremely hard. The sky is the limit for him. I know he’ll be more comfortable going into Year 2 than Year 1 with everything moving at a fast pace, so I’m excited to see what he does.
What are some ways that you think you can be better, and what are some goals that you have for this year?
I can be better in a lot of ways. I do a lot of self-scouting. I want to work on my get-off. Getting off the ball better. Rushing better at defensive end and combining that with continuing to rush well from the inside as well. Just becoming a better all-around player and building off the things I did last year and taking it to another level.
What are your recollections of Dion Jordan with the [Oregon] Ducks, and what are your thoughts on him joining the defensive line crew?
Man, it’s great. Dion was a guy I looked up to and have for a long time, especially in college, being a freshman, and he was a senior. I always appreciated him for sticking up for me and not being one of those seniors who talk down on freshman and try to haze freshmen. Dion was always my big homie. I loved playing with him in college and being able to learn from him. He played at a high level and set a standard for us in college. He paved the way for me and DeFo.
Was there anything that has changed that’s caused you to become more vocal about social issues?
Not necessarily a turning point. I think as you grow as an adult and as a person, you learn more information. You learn how to better use your platform and what’s your responsibilities. We all mature and grow, and I’m in a place now where I try to use my platform to educate people that I feel are important and provide common, everyday, relatable examples to people who follow me and care about what I say. I take that as a responsibility of mine, and I’m going to continue to do that. Any platform big or small, we have the opportunity to impact the people around us, whether you’re reaching two people or hundreds of thousands.