49ers to miss Javon Kinlaw, Arik Armstead vs. Panthers

Arik Armstead #91 of the San Francisco 49ers sacks Kyle Allen #7 of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Arik Armstead #91 of the San Francisco 49ers sacks Kyle Allen #7 of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

2-2. 42. CBS. Sunday, Oct. 9. 1-3. 87. 49ers -6.5. 4:05 p.m. ET

The 49ers defensive line will again be shorthanded this week with a road matchup on the table against the Panthers, but is it a major concern?

As it was during the second half of the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 4 contest against the Los Angeles Rams, the Niners defensive line will be noticeably shorthanded when the team takes to the road and faces the 1-3 Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Following team practice on Friday, head coach Kyle Shanahan informed reporters that two of his starting defensive tackles, Javon Kinlaw (knee) and Arik Armstead (foot), were ruled out for the game.

Kinlaw was inactive in Week 4, while Armstead managed to play but was removed midway through.

Shanahan also mentioned Armstead could potentially wind up on injured reserve.

Normally, when a team loses two first-round NFL Draft picks who start on any positional group, that group is going to experience a massive setback.

Except not in San Francisco’s case.

Next Gen Stats recently put a compilation together of every team’s defensive line through four weeks. And despite being without both Kinlaw and Armstead for the bulk of Week 4, the 49ers’ D-line wrapped up the first-quarter mark of the season at the No. 1 spot. While top-billing names like Pro Bowl EDGE Nick Bosa headline that bunch, Armstead and Kinlaw still play vital roles.

What’s less obvious is the sheer amount of depth the Niners enjoy behind those two who’ll be absent in Week 5.

49ers can deploy their D-line depth vs. Panthers in Week 5

San Francisco managed to sack Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford five times last Monday. Bosa and fellow EDGE Samson Ebukam each recorded one sack apiece, yet additional sacks were tallied by two less-known names, defensive linemen Charles Omenihu and one of the 49ers’ offseason pickups, Hassan Ridgeway.

In fact, Ridgeway’s presence, along with the fill-in duties from fellow defensive tackle Kevin Givens, have helped alleviate the absences of both Kinlaw and Armstead, as Niners Nation’s Jordan Elliott pointed out:

"With Javon Kinlaw ruled out of Monday’s game and Arik Armstead at less than one hundred percent, Givens and Ridgeway were tasked with carrying a heavy load against a potent Rams offense. Givens and Ridgeway each recorded over 30 snaps on the interior, pacing the 49ers’ defense in this game.Plenty of 49ers fans are familiar with Givens as he embarks in his fourth season with the team, but Monday night felt like a coming-out party of sorts for Ridgeway, who inked a one-year deal this offseason that looks like a bargain thus far at just a 1.8 million dollar cap hit."

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Los Angeles’ potent ground attack didn’t make a dent in the Niners’ league-best 2.9 yards-per-carry run defense.

And with the Panthers owning the 24th-ranked rushing attack entering Week 5, one might figure San Franciso will get by just fine without Armstead and Kinlaw again.

The 49ers and Panthers kick off on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 4:05 p.m. ET from Bank of America Stadium.

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