Spikes says Armstead has to step up if 49ers are to make playoffs


With the return of Nick Bosa this season, the 49ers' defensive line had high expectations heading into the 2021 NFL season. 

Through seven games, San Francisco's defense has recorded just 16 total sacks, with Bosa accounting for seven of them. 

Former NFL linebacker and current 49ers analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, Takeo Spikes, believes defensive lineman Arik Armstead needs to step up the most among the 49ers defensive linemen. 

"Now when we look at the biggest upside, meaning they haven't been able to produce as much as we thought or anticipated that they would have," Spikes said on the "Behind the Mask Podcast" this week. "You gotta go with Arik Armstead. Only one sack, I really thought that he was going to dominate the trenches last week against the Chicago Bears. It's OK because they still have time, but in order for this 49er team to get to the playoffs, it's imperative that Arik Armstead starts showing up.

"Not necessarily in the sack department, but it needs to have a bigger impact on the game. Whether or not it's batted passes, whether or not you're moving the quarterback off of his spot, those are ways you measure impact outside of just saying 'I have sacks.' In order for this team to get to the playoffs, I look forward to Arik Armstead upping that sack total from one sack hopefully up closer to 10. He has the ability and he has plenty of opportunities coming up."

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Through seven games, Armstead has just 18 total tackles, one sack, six pressures and two tackles-for-loss. That level of production does not meet the lofty expectations that come with a player who recently signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension in January of this year. 


Armstead and the 49ers defensive line will have their hands full against quarterback Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on Sunday. 

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