Javon Kinlaw returned to the 49ers’ deep defensive line on Saturday. Adding a talent like Kinlaw is a boost to a team with deep playoff aspirations. The first-round pick will be vital in slowing down teams rushing attacks up the middle.
Kinlaw only appeared for 13 snaps. There’s no need for concern. Bringing Kinlaw along by limiting his action and building his conditioning is the smartest move.
Kyle Shanahan explained the plan for Kinlaw:
So how did Javon Kinlaw fare?
“It seemed like he did well. We were trying to play him 10 to 15 plays. I think on that last drive, I asked where he was at because he went in there, but he was only at 13 at the time, so I think he got his two more and came out, and he came up to me on the sidelines asking if he could play more. He said he feels good, and I said, it’s not about how you feel today, it’s about we want you to play more next week and the following week, so it seemed like a success for his first day back.”
From this statement, it appears Kinlaw was eager to continue playing. That’s a great sign. However, Shanahan understands bringing Kinlaw along slowly will lead to more contributions when the games become more important.
The biggest news from Saturday’s win is the team sustained no new injuries. Kinlaw coming out of this game healthy is a huge win for this team. Here’s Shanahan on how Kinlaw looked Saturday and how he came out of the game healthy, which was the most important part:
“No, he checked out great yesterday and today. I think he ended up getting 16 total plays. I’m not exactly sure, close to that, but it was a successful game and even more successful since he looked good today.
I thought he did a good job. I think the more he plays, the more we’ll be able to keep him out there longer. That fourth-and-one down on the goal line, I thought he made a real big play there taking on the double team, taking two blockers, allowing [LB] Fred [Warner] and [DT] T.Y. [McGill] to make that play, so he really helped out, was stout in the run game and that was a good first step.”
Kinlaw recorded one tackle, which was a run stop. We can expect the team to rev up his snaps each week as we get closer and closer to the playoffs.