How 49ers' D.J. Jones plans to add more consistency to his pass rush

How 49ers' D.J. Jones plans to add more consistency to his pass rush

The 49ers did not count on nose tackle D.J. Jones to provide much of a pass rush during his first three NFL seasons.

But with DeForest Buckner now with the Indianapolis Colts, the team will be looking for a combination of players to help compensate for the loss of the team’s top inside defensive force.

Jones believes he is capable of contributing much more in an expanded role from what he has been asked to do since entering the NFL as a run defender.

“I know I have it in me,” Jones said. “I just need the opportunity and I need to continue to work at my craft to get better.”

Jones was the starter on base downs last season before he sustained a high-ankle sprain in the 49ers’ Week 14 game at New Orleans. He was placed on injured reserve, ending his season before the start of the playoffs. Jones generally was taken off the field in passing situations.

Jones said his ankle is 100 percent healthy. He is running and cutting. He is training to play more snaps than ever before. And he has the voice of 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek ringing in his ears even from afar as the team goes through its virtual offseason program.

“If I don’t stop my feet, I feel like I can get to the quarterback,” Jones said. “The second my feet stop, I’m stuck in mud, and I’m not going to get to the passer. As long as I keep moving my feet, as my defensive line coach continues to tell me that’s what I’m working on, I can get to the quarterback.”

[RELATEDHow 49ers' Jones plans to raise game with ankle healthy]

Jones registered his first two NFL sacks last season while playing in 11 games. On each of his sacks, Jones showed he has the physical ability to get after the quarterback on a more regular basis.

He demonstrated his quickness at 305 pounds to track down Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen for a sack in Week 8. Then, he showed brute force in steamrolling Seattle center Joey Hunt en route to sacking Russell Wilson two weeks later.

Jones was on the field for 147 pass plays last season, according to Pro Football Focus, had had seven quarterback hurries, along with his two sacks.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

Arik Armstead doesn't want to hear it.

The 49ers defensive lineman spoke to Sactown Magazine for its July/August issue, and says that if you're not willing to listen to his dialogue off the field about social issues affecting our country, he doesn't want you tuning in to watch him and his teammates dominate on the field.

“If you don’t want me speaking out against racism and social issues and social injustices, then don’t watch me play on Sundays," Armstead said. "Can’t have a piece of me and not all of me.”

Armstead also joined NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America" series a few weeks ago, and spoke about the pain he felt seeing video of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police Custody.

"Like, why do I have to continue -- why do we have to continue to see people that look like us get murdered on social media and on the TV?" Armstead told Logan Murdock and Monte Poole on  "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." " ... I'm on Instagram, and I just got to see another Black person get killed unjustly."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

The 26-year-old also discussed a time when he was racially profiled by local police near a friend's house in Elk Grove.

“A cop gets behind us, pulls us over,” Armstead recalls. “‘What y’all doing? Where y’all going?’”

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick, Nate Boyer helped enact real change with discussion]

The officer then made Armstead and his friends prove that they knew the people whose house they were traveling to, by bringing the cop with them to the front door and having the friend explain that he was acquainted with Armstead.

Armstead has made it clear he won't be staying silent or "sticking to sports." For those who don't want to hear Armstead's voice on these issues, don't expect him to care whether you watch him play on Sundays.

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

Joe Staley long has been a model of consistency for the 49ers, spending the past 12 seasons protecting a myriad of 49ers quarterbacks as San Francisco's starting left tackle.

Staley's younger teammates held so much respect for him, as you could see from the many who spoke publicly in the wake of Staley's retirement back in April.

It appears even in retirement Staley continues to inspire his former teammates, as 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne shared an Instagram direct message from Staley on Sunday morning.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

"Never lose sight of the goal. The ring," Staley wrote to Bourne. "That's all that matters in what we do. I never got it. You. Mr KB!! Go get it!! F-----g GET IT!! Make me proud bro. I love watching your hustle. All love."

Staley was responding to a video Bourne had posted of some of the hardware he's earned over his football career, including one of the game balls from the 49ers' blowout Week 8 win over the Carolina Panthers.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should explore David Njoku trade with Browns after demand]

Bourne and the 49ers came so close to helping Staley capture that elusive championship ring, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit to stun San Francisco at Super Bowl LIV.

The 49ers won the offseason in the eyes of some pundits around the league, and appear primed for another deep postseason run. It'll be up to Bourne, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and the rest of the 49ers' talented roster to finish the job if they can get back to the Super Bowl.