Arik Armstead

49ers' Arik Armstead reveals factors that went into breakout season

49ers' Arik Armstead reveals factors that went into breakout season

Arik Armstead always had the talent. There's a reason the 6-foot-7 Sacramento native was a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. 

He finally put it all together last season and led the 49ers with 10 sacks to go along with 11 tackles for loss and 18 QB hits. So, what played into the Oregon product's breakout? First and foremost, it all starts with health. 

"I've been working extremely hard," Armstead said Wednesday on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football." "Dealt with some injuries and other adversity throughout my career. I really focused on continuing to work hard and focused on my craft day in and day out. 

"A lot goes into the season I had ... God keeping me healthy." 

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

Armstead played in all 16 regular-season games last season for the second straight year. But he only suited up in six games in 2017 and eight in 2016. 

Along with putting work in to keep his body ready for a full season, Armstead put trust into the 49ers' defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and a personal coach he hired in the offseason. 

[RELATED: Armstead explains why 49ers can avoid Super Bowl hangover]

"Coach Kocurek was amazing for me," Armstead said. "He helped me open up my game and gave me confidence and opportunities out there on the field. I hired a pass-rush trainer to be with me all season, Mark Hall."

The trust clearly paid off, too. Armstead entered last season with nine career sacks through four seasons. He wound up with 12 last season, including the playoffs. 

Arik Armstead calls 49ers rookie Javon Kinlaw 'super talented' on tape

Arik Armstead calls 49ers rookie Javon Kinlaw 'super talented' on tape

After breaking out for 10 sacks to lead the 49ers, Arik Armstead inked a five-year, $85 million contract extension with San Francisco this offseason. Hours later, he saw the team trade one of his best friends and fellow defensive lineman, DeForest Buckner, to the Indianapolis Colts.

Armstead and the rest of the D-line surely will miss Buckner's presence, but general manager Jon Lynch did do his best to replace him on the field by drafting Javon Kinlaw with the No. 14 overall pick in the draft.

So far, Armstead has loved what he's seen from Kinlaw's game film.

"From what I've seen, he's super talented," Armstead said Wednesday on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football." "Big, strong, fast. He can do a lot out there on the field, and I expect him to come out there and help us a lot from Day 1."

It's unfair to expect Kinlaw to replace Buckner's production from the first day he puts on a 49ers jersey. He certainly has the talent to be an impact rookie, though. 

Talent can only take you so far, and Kinlaw will need the guidance of veterans. Armstead, a former first-round pick himself, is entering his sixth season and will do what he can to get Kinlaw ready for the next level.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should rectify mistake, trade for Jets' Adams]

"I'm excited about the opportunity to bring him along and get him up to speed as quick as we can so he can go out there and make some plays to help us win," Armstead said.

For Armstead to continue growing into a star, he knows Kinlaw can only help wreak havoc on the opposing offense.

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Why Arik Armstead believes 49ers can avoid having Super Bowl hangover

Why Arik Armstead believes 49ers can avoid having Super Bowl hangover

Like a confident college kid going out on the town with important plans in the morning, Arik Armstead and the 49ers are confident they won't have a hangover.

Easier said than done.

Only three teams in NFL history have won the Super Bowl the year after losing on sports' biggest stage. Many runners-up make it back to the playoffs, while some fall completely out of the playoff picture, succumbing to the dreaded Super Bowl hangover. The 49ers' 2020 "Revenge Tour" will have to overcome the half-myth, half-fact that is the Super Bowl hangover while also navigating a tough schedule and incorporating some new pieces into the roster. Arik Armstead, who agreed to a lucrative new contract in the offseason, believes his team has what it takes to dodge the pitfalls of a Super Bowl hangover.

"I think our team is built the right way," Armstead said Wednesday on "Good Morning Football." "Complete roster from top to bottom. We don't just have a couple guys who we rely on on Sundays to make plays. Guys step up all over the field all the time. Offense, defense, special teams. So I think we're really complete and I think we're built for the long haul.

"I'm excited to get back on this journey when all this COVID-19 clears up, hopefully soon. Get back win this journey to get back to the Super Bowl and hopefully get a dub this time."

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

The 49ers do have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, and general manager John Lynch was able to fill the holes that materialized with the trade of DeForest Buckner, loss of Emmanuel Sanders and retirement of Joe Staley. The 49ers drafted defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the first round and then traded for seven-time Pro-Bowl selection Trent Williams to take over Staley's post.

In order to get back to the Super Bowl and finish the job, the 49ers will need a few things to happen.

First, they will need a committee of wide receivers, Aiyuk included, to make up for what they lost when Sanders left for the New Orleans Saints. After coming over in a midseason trade from the Denver Broncos, Sanders proved to be an important target for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and was a mentor to Deebo Samuel, who now will be tasked with being the No. 1 receiver.

The 49ers also must get better in the red zone on both sides of the ball. They ranked 21st in the NFL in offensive red zone efficiency while their defense ranked 22nd in that department.

Garoppolo also must take a leap in 2020 and prove he's the franchise quarterback many believe him to be. He was solid in 2019,  but made too many careless decisions with the football. The 49ers will continue to be a run-first team, but another year of growth for Garoppolo is needed if they are to finish the job this time around.

[RELATED: Saints, Seahawks among pack of NFC challengers looking to knock off 49ers]

The 49ers will face a tough road to Tampa Bay and Super Bowl LV. But they are the prohibitive favorites to represent the NFC yet again.

They just have to avoid the hangover. Something that's easier said than done.