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John Lynch on what Arik Armstead’s return means to the 49ers defense

Dec 1, 2022 at 5:05 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers defense might get a significant boost on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Following Thursday's practice, defensive lineman Arik Armstead told reporters that he plans to play this weekend, his first on-field action since October 3 against the Los Angeles Rams.

"[49ers VP of football communications] Corry [Rush] just came in here and said Arik announced that, so I don't have to announce anything. I love that," general manager John Lynch said while laughing during his weekly KNBR interview.

Armstead's return would bolster a defensive unit that already ranks No. 1 in the NFL in total yards allowed and points allowed. In addition, his presence would help solidify an interior front that has missed Armstead and Javon Kinlaw for much of the season.

"Arik's a difference-maker; he really is for us," Lynch said.

He shared that, in talking with other team's coaches and general managers before games, they all tell him the same thing—that the 49ers are already so good, but when they get Armstead back, they'll be even better.

Armstead played every game in four consecutive seasons before dealing with foot and ankle injuries this year. He recorded 19.5 sacks in the three seasons before this one, earning his highest-ever pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus (77.3) in 2021.

"He makes a difference in there," Lynch continued. "He's a very large human being. He's impactful. Sometimes it's weird for a guy to be that big, for it to be a subtle impact, but he affects the game. He's just a big presence that gets push in the pocket. He makes us better, and we're excited for the possibility for him to be back."

Lynch went on to praise Armstead's selflessness, using his move to the interior of the defensive line as an example.

"He had always played in there on passing downs," Lynch shared, "but made the commitment to do it all the time, and that's the kind of teammate he is, that's the kind of pro he is. I can't say enough about how excited we are to have him back."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.


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