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DeMeco Ryans believes Javon Kinlaw can be dominant; explains how he can get there

The 49ers expect big things from Kinlaw in 2022

NFL: SEP 26 Packers at 49ers Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Training camp has been frustrating for 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. That’s not because he’s underwhelmed, but due to Kinlaw being slow-rolled back into action. Kinlaw often paces back and forth, waiting to be let off the leash in team drills. When he isn’t clamoring to get back onto the field, he’s coaching up a fellow defensive lineman or dancing to whatever the DJ has on. Kinlaw is engaged at all times.

49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said there has been an emphasis on Kinlaw’s low pad level:

“And I feel like he’s done a really nice job these past couple days of going in and playing with low pads, using his hands inside, and making plays in the backfield. So he’s doing really good at being focused on the small details of his job, which will allow him to be a very dominant player inside for us.”

Ryans knows Kinlaw has the dominant traits. He’s also aware the third-year defensive tackle has to be consistent with his pad level and attention to detail to achieve said dominance.

There was a play during Sunday’s practice where Kinlaw had a tackle for loss that led him to celebrate after the play. Ryans explained that’s the player Kinlaw can be with the proper technique while using dominant twice to describe Kinlaw’s potential:

“Yeah, it was a run stop in the backfield where he had, again, an excellent technique, which allows him to make plays. And that’s the biggest thing for him now that he’s feeling much better. Now it is just the emphasis on those techniques, which will allow him to be a dominant player. He keeps doing what he’s doing and he’s in a really good space. He’s bringing energy to our group. He’s physical, he’s looking good out there, in good shape, getting his legs back under him. And I’m excited to see him just continue to progress and I’m looking forward to him having a big year for us because it’ll be really vital for us to have really dominant players inside. That’s what helps our defense perform the way we perform is those inside players, so having Javon and having [DL] Arik [Armstead] inside would be huge for us.”

Kinlaw looks the part. During training camp, he’s often played the part. The depth on the defensive line allows the defense to take its time with Kinlaw while he plays himself into shape. Honestly, I’d sparingly use him during the preseason. The Bears should be Kinlaw’s target date.