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Arik Armstead discusses possibility of no fans in stadiums, says 49ers have roster to be better

Jul 19, 2020 at 2:20 PM--

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It might be more challenging than usual for the San Francisco 49ers to get motivated for football when they run onto the field at Levi's Stadium to face the Arizona Cardinals on September 13. That's because there may be no fans in the seats cheering for them.

So much for having a home-field advantage.

The coronavirus pandemic could force several NFL teams to play without fans in their home stadiums. The city of Philadelphia prohibits outdoor events involving more than 50 people. That would apply to Lincoln Financial Field and the Eagles. However, city officials made it clear that the mandate is a "fluid situation" and could change.

49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead joined The Breakaway podcast this past week and was asked about the possibility of playing at Levi's Stadium, and potentially opposing teams' stadiums, without fans in attendance.

"It's definitely going to be interesting," Armstead said. "It's something that none of us has really gone through. So, it's going to be interesting, but I'm missing football and am just excited to get back in any fashion, really. I miss playing, miss being around the guys, so hopefully, we can be back in some capacity."

Which side of the football has more of an advantage with an empty stadium? After all, no fans or even limited fans would make road games against teams like the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints, both of which are on the 49ers' schedule, a lot easier.

"The game's definitely going to be a little weird, but we're professional athletes, and can make those adjustments," Armstead continued. "I think no crowd gives an advantage to -- I would say gives it to the offense. Defensively, we communicate, but we don't have to communicate as much. So, when the crowd is there, and they're loud and rowdy, it definitely affects the offense a bunch.

"But it's going to be a challenge for both, too. Defensively, you make a big play, and it's kind of quiet. Really, no momentum shift or anything like that. It could be a little weird."

As for the 49ers themselves, Armstead doesn't foresee a significant drop-off from last season. The team has enough talent to overcome any Super Bowl hangover, and Armstead believes it could even be improved.

"Every season brings new challenges, but I feel like everyone is just getting more and more comfortable with one another, settling into our roles, and what our coaches ask of us, and what we need to do to go out there to get victories," Armstead explained. "So I think we've been getting better and better each year since Shanahan took over.

"I continue to see that growth in us, and we want to improve from last year, and I think we have the roster to do it, so I'm excited to get back to work."

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