Kyle Shanahan Absolves 49ers Defender of Dak Prescott Faux Pas

Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Arik Armstead not sacking Dak Prescott in the San Francisco 49ers Week 20 win.

While it didn’t ultimately impact the final outcome of the San Francisco 49ers‘ win over the Dallas Cowboys, if there was one non-play that sent fans into overdrive online, it was Arik Armstead’s decision not to sack Dak Prescott in the end zone near the end of regulation. Rolled out to his right, Armstead made contact with Prescott but ultimately didn’t bring him down, allowing the seasoned QB to throw the ball down the field for what ended up being an incompletion.

When asked about what he saw on that fateful play and whether or not Armstead made a mistake during his Wednesday media availability session, Kyle Shanahan defended the former first-round pick out of Oregon, suggesting that his task was tougher than it might have initially appeared.

“We talk about that every week, week in and week out,” Shanahan said via 49ers WebZone. “That one was, I think it wasn’t that he was just scared to get the penalty. It was that where he was, he thought he was going to throw it, so he was getting ready to put his hands up to tip it, and then all of a sudden, I think it shocked him that he didn’t do it, and then he was in an awkward position, so that’s stuff that you talk about all the time. It’s a huge challenge for these guys. We are expecting this quarterback to run it. We are expecting him to lower his shoulder, so we always have to come out and treat him like a running back until he gives himself up, which is sliding or being in that pocket, and when he does, our guys are good enough athletes to have to deal with it.”

Armstead, to his credit, regrets the play too, as he told reporters at his locker after the game.

“I wasn’t trying to get a penalty,” Armstead said via Pro Football Talk. “I should have just smacked him.”

Shanahan has Long Been Impressed by the San Francisco 49ers’ DT

Elsewhere in his media session, Shanahan was asked if he recalls coaching against Armstead when he was with the Atlanta Falcons back in 2016 and how his multifaceted skill set impacted Atlanta’s game plan. Because of the scheme Jim O’Neil was running under then-head coach Chip Kelly, Shanahan didn’t notice the tackle too much but really came around to Armstead during the head coaching interview process.

“I remember going against the Niners defense the most in ’16 when we were in Atlanta, and their season was kind of over,” Shanahan said. “And I didn’t get to notice those guys much, Armstead and [Indianapolis Colts DL DeForest Buckner] Buck because the way they were playing the whole game they were in, they weren’t penetrating, they were in frog stances and playing real sound run defense, and we weren’t really attacking him that way, so I remember not being sure on the overall of the defense playing against him with Atlanta. And then when I got it kind of hunker down, and we looked into the job, being able to watch him, Buck, [DB] Jimmie Ward, just to see some of the pillars that they already had and we we’re hoping that we could get something and help them.”

Though some 49ers fans might not want to be reminded of the Armstead-Bucker interior defensive line combo, as fan sentiment has grown sourer around the Javon Kinlaw trade with each passing month, it’s hard to argue that number 91 hasn’t been among the 49ers’ best players when healthy under Shanahan, developing into a steady force on the inside.

Kyle Shanahan Acknowledges Philadelphia’s Star Rusher too

Much has been said and written about Nick Bosa, the Niners’ All-World defensive end who finished out the 2022 regular season with the most sacks of any player in the NFL. He’s a favorite for Defensive Player of the Year, is loved by the fans, and is in line for a massive contract extension when his current deal can be renegotiated, but what some may not know is the Philadelphia Eagles, the only other active team left on the NFC side of the bracket, also have a top-tier edge rusher in Haason Reddick, who will make it his mission to bring down Brock Purdy in Week 21.

When asked about preparing for Reddick, Shanahan complemented the Temple product for really coming into his own in Jonathan Gannon’s scheme.

“I think he’s playing in a real good scheme for him,” Shanahan said. “I think he gets a lot more opportunities. And I just think pass rushers, the more they play in this league and stay healthy and hang around, the better they get. It’s hard to rush the quarterback in this league, and he’s gotten better each year, and he’s playing at the top of his game right now, and he’s always been a good player. We love him coming out of college, but you can tell he just gets better and better each year.”

With a career-high 16 sacks and a league-high five forced fumbles in his first season with the Eagles, Reddick is in the middle of the best season of his professional career. If the 49ers are going to keep Purdy upright, he’ll need to pay close attention to number 7 in midnight green.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x