Why Armstead's role will change after 49ers D-line moves


The 49ers have made some changes to their defensive line following second-year defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw's season-ending knee surgery last week. 

Without Kinlaw for the remainder of the season, the 49ers made a move to bolster their defensive line, trading for Houston Texans pass rusher Charles Omenihu before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline. 

Knowing that they would be without Kinlaw, the trade for Omenihu makes sense, as does the 49ers' decision to move DT/DE Arik Armstead inside.  

"Yeah, Armstead has moved inside," 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans told reporters Thursday (H/T 49ers Web Zone). "He started last week, moving inside, that's still fluid. We'll see, what do we need for each particular week. We'll see in what area Arik can help us."

"The thing about (Armstead) is he's done it before and he's very good inside as well," Ryans said. "And we know his dominance on the edge. Nobody really wants to run the ball to Arik's side when he's on the edge and now putting him inside, I think Arik was able to make a lot more plays inside this past week, putting him inside. So, he can be a productive playmaker for us inside. And with Kinlaw, I think not having Kinlaw does attribute to that, putting Arik inside. But Arik has done fantastic. He did a good job last week and he'll continue to get better the more reps he gets inside."


Armstead's move inside helps fill the void left by Kinlaw while allowing the newly-acquired Omenihu to establish himself off the edge. As Ryans said, the situation is fluid, and the 49ers will mix and match how they see fit, but for now, Armstead will look to disrupt the passer from the interior. 

"He's played on the edge," Ryans said of Omenihu. "He's played inside. We'll see where he thrives best for us and where he fits the best for us and wherever he can excel the most and showcases his talent that's where we'll put him."

"We're excited to have him. Excited to add a guy with his talent. I think it's a great player to add to our room. Very long player, instinctive guy who can make plays for us. So, Charles has been coming along, learning the scheme, picking up on everything pretty well. We'll see how much he advances, but I'm really happy and excited to be able to add a player of his quality at this point in the season."

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The 49ers defensive line could use a jolt, and Omenihu will have an opportunity to do so against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9 at Levi's Stadium. 

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