Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ DeMeco Ryans identifies training camp focus for Javon Kinlaw: ‘Technique, technique, technique’

Aug 3, 2022 at 2:13 PM--

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is big, strong, and has all the tools to succeed in the NFL. His 2020 rookie campaign was underwhelming, racking up just 1.5 sacks to go along with 33 tackles, three for a loss, four quarterback hits, and one interception.

Kinlaw's 2021 campaign was cut short by injury. The former No. 14 overall pick appeared in only four games before undergoing season-ending reconstructive surgery to repair his ACL. With Kinlaw making his way back to the football field, reporters were curious about the training camp focus for the 6-foot-5 defender.

"Kinlaw, I tell him every day as I walk by him. I just say, 'Technique, technique, technique," defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said on Wednesday. "That's the main thing. If he just goes out and just owns his technique—we're kind of ramping him up where he gets a few reps a day—then we'll add more on. But the only thing Kinlaw has to focus on is improving his technique."

Kinlaw's teammates believe the third-year defensive lineman is building toward a breakout season, which is good news for a team that heavily relies on its elite defensive front. Mike McGlinchey, like Kinlaw, has spent a lot of time in Santa Clara rehabbing from an injury that also cut his 2021 campaign short. The two got to rehab together.

"He looks [unbelievable]," McGlinchey shared in July. "I've never seen a human being look like him. He is freaky looking—in the best way possible. ... He's gearing up for a hell of a year. Unbelievably motivated, unbelievably determined to prove that he's a great football player, which we all know he is already.

"And the maturity that he's shown in this last year or so, I could not be prouder of him. ... Expect big things from Javon. I think he's going to have an unbelievable year. He's ready to go."

While Kinlaw's contributions to the 49ers have been underwhelming thus far, 49ers coaches expect that to change in 2022.

"Javon's got everything in his body and in his mindset that he's going to be a hell of a player," head coach Kyle Shanahan said over the weekend. "He was able to get a good surgery and go through the whole right steps for a long offseason. That's finally put him in a position that he's going to be healthy enough to practice, and he is right now. We're just trying to be smart with that because if Javon can practice consistently, we can build him up to that. Everything will take care of itself."

As for Ryans, he's been impressed by what he's seen from Kinlaw's limited work during training camp.

"Kinlaw is a special player, special talent," Ryans said. "He just has to get back to playing football. It's been a while for him. I like where he is. He's not pressing. He's not trying to do too much. He has the right mindset every day to go out and get better, and I'm seeing that from him in the individual drills, and also in the team drills. He's doing a good job these past couple of days."
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