49ers Assistant Answers Playing Status for 2 Ex-1st Rounders

Arik Armstead

Getty Arik Armstead warms up on September 18, 2022.

Fans of the San Francisco 49ers know by now how loaded the defensive line is. However, most have been on pins and needles wondering about the status of two injured first rounders.

In the practice reports from this week, former first round talents Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw have been given a “DNP” next to their name…meaning “did not practice.”

This has led to some anxieties by 49er fans with wondering if the captain Armstead, who’s been out with a foot injury, and the past top 15 pick Kinlaw, who is being bothered by a knee injury and has his own history of season-ending ACL tears, will be available for the huge Monday Night Football NFC title game rematch with the Los Angeles Rams on October 3 in the Bay Area.

Well, it appears one top 49ers assistant has accidently leaked out the answer.

What the DC Revealed

DeMeco Ryans helped field questions from the Bay Area media with the Rams showdown three days away.

The burning question was asked by The Athletic’s Davis Lombardi: What is the health status of both Armstead and Kinlaw? And will both be ready to go. Lombardi revealed the answer he got.

“Asked about Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw not practicing today, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said: ‘Those guys will be out there for us. They’ll be fine,’ followed by “Ryans then said he wasn’t referring to their potential MNF availability, but thought I’d share the quote.”

So, with an answer like the one Ryans blurted, that left fans wondering how they should interpret Ryans’ answer.

“This reads as ‘oops, I accidently told the truth,'” one fan reacted.

“‘Fine’ is never a good term lol,” was what @OurSF49ers sent out as a response to Lombardi.

Another fan, though, pointed out how head coach Kyle Shanahan said to the media that Armstead would be available for the Week 3 road game at Denver.

“Shanahan said Armstead would be fine for Denver. I’ll believe it when I see it, although I hope DeMeco isn’t a liar like Shanahan when it comes to injuries,” the fan said.

If anything, Ryans’ rhetoric likely points to Armstead and Kinlaw on their way back to the field…with the goal of playing against the defending Super Bowl champs in mind.

Lombardi also included “We might know more about their MNF availability tomorrow (Saturday practice).”

Plan if Both Can’t go

Even though the strength of the defense has been the trenches, and Nick Bosa has played like an early candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, this is still a relatively thin group heading toward the matchup with the Rams.

Armstead and Kinlaw’s absence creates a significant hole in the interior. Kinlaw has put together a strong start while Armstead isn’t just lauded for his leadership on the field, but for his versatility and ability to kick inside — which was what he did last season when Kinlaw went down.

Hassan Ridgeway is one of the other true interior options healthy for this upcoming tilt. The plan if both can’t play is pulling up veteran Akeem Spence from the practice squad. Spence, 30, was a training camp addition in August and has Detroit Lions ties with S.F. defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.

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