Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Bosa, DeMeco Ryans discuss the success of 49ers DL Arik Armstead

Sep 23, 2021 at 6:05 PM--

One wouldn't be able to tell simply by looking at sack and tackle statistics, but 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead has been a handful for opposing offenses through the first two games of the 2021 season.

Armstead has three tackles and zero sacks in two games but currently ranks second in the NFL in pressures by a pass rusher (15) and in pressure rate (28.2 percent). He's also the second-highest rated 49ers defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus at 81.3, which is just a hair behind defensive tackle D.J. Jones (81.8).

On Thursday, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and defensive end Nick Bosa talked after practice about how Armstead has performed to this point, as well as what has made him into a success. Ryans gave reporters a thumbs-up for Armstead's first two games while also saying he's been a valuable presence in the locker room as well.

"I think Arik has done really well for us these first two games," Ryans said. "He's been disruptive on the quarterback. It maybe doesn't show in the sack production and things like that, but when we talk about effecting a quarterback, I think Arik has done that and done it at a very high rate. And Arik continues to excel and do well. He's playing with power and he's moving the pocket. He's forcing the quarterback to make errant throws.

"So yeah, I'm really happy with where Arik is and just happy for Arik, just the type of leader that he is and everything that Arik represents. He's a great guy to have, great teammate to our guys, great leader. Probably one guy who studies a lot of film, very smart guy, very cerebral, very smart, understands looks and things, how people are trying to attack us. So that's one thing about Arik. He's very detailed in his approach. He's very detailed in his work ethic. Like every week he's on it. He understands what the offense is going to give him and he's able to capitalize on that."

While Ryans spoke about Armstead's success in pressuring the quarterback and what he brings off the field, Bosa praised Armstead's ability against the run as well as what he does to address his physical health.

"Arik had a really good game last week," Bosa said. "He's probably the smartest D-Lineman in our room, I would say. When it comes to the run game, he knows what plays are coming half the time. He's mastered it after so many years in the league. He just could recognize things. In the run game, when you know something's coming, you're that much quicker. With his strength and size, it's a really good combo. And he takes care of his body extremely well, I've noticed. Just all of his people, his team of body maintenance people that he works with, is another edge."

Armstead's start to the 2021 season is a great sign for the 49ers, who will need him to stay hot as they enter into a three-game stretch against three of the tougher offenses on their schedule in the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. That stretch gets started Sunday night when the Packers come to Levi's Stadium (8:20 p.m. ET/5:20 p.m. PT, NBC).
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