SANTA CLARA -- Javon Kinlaw has a one-track mind and that could be a huge benefit for the 49ers come Week 1 of the 2021 season.
The hulking lineman has been at the team facility since February focusing on nothing but football. It has been a huge benefit for Kinlaw to have a full offseason with a weight room and coaches at his disposal after the challenges of 2020.
Set to begin his second NFL season, Kinlaw shared that the game already has slowed down a great deal for him. He has focused on improving his overall game, but especially his effectiveness on third down and against the run.
As a rookie, Kinlaw appeared in all but two games and was credited with 1.5 sacks and 33 total tackles, including 15 solo and three for a loss. The highlight of his debut season was a pick-six of then-Rams quarterback Jared Goff in Week 12.
Now the lineman is “antsy” to get back on the field for as many snaps as possible. Reluctantly, Kinlaw has been sticking to the plan set by the team’s medical staff that has gradually been easing him back into the fold.
One benefit for Kinlaw of being limited has been time spent with Nick Bosa and Dee Ford doing individual work on a side field during team drills. The South Carolina product has taken advantage of every minute of his time with the star pass rushers.
“I’ve been learning this whole time,” Kinlaw said on Monday. “It’s been more learning for me than work, especially on pass rush being able to get with those two and pick their brains. I’m always looking to learn. I’m always trying to get better at everything I do.”
Bosa and Ford have shared tips on how to be a better pass rusher -- different moves, and how to get out of certain situations.
Kinlaw would love to be on the field for every defensive rep to put the knowledge he has acquired to the test, but he was limited to 8-10 snaps on Monday. He wants to use what he has learned from his position-mates and also from his coach, Kris Kocurek.
The defensive line coach has had Kinlaw watching film of Ndamukong Suh's early years with the Detroit Lions since being drafted in 2020. The younger lineman wants to play with the same violent approach. Kinlaw shared that both Suh and retired Detroit Lions Nick Fairley are players he aspires to emulate.
“One day I’m going to be able to look back and say I was one of the best guys to do this," Kinlaw said. "That’s just the mindset that I have. It’s the mindset I’ve had since I started playing this game.
“I don’t care what anyone thinks about how I am right now or anything like that. I don’t care what they say, one day I will be that.”
Until then, Kinlaw will remain focused on the task at hand without any distractions, save for his two giant dogs -- a 150-pound Mastiff and a seven month old American XL Bully that weighs 85-90 pounds. Intimidating size clearly runs in the family.