After wrapping up his rookie season in the NFL, Arik Armstead returned to his hometown of Sacramento to begin his offseason training.
The San Francisco 49ers first-round pick from 2015 spoke with Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee about his performance in Year 1, what he hopes to accomplish in the coming months and the team's search for a new head coach.
"It went by so fast, and I really didn't have a chance to slow down," said Armstead of his rookie campaign. "It's been a real eye-opener in the NFL. This definitely has a work feel to it. In college, it's school, practice, hang out with homies.
"In the NFL, it's a job, professional, a lot of film, meetings, practices, lifting, scouting reports. I enjoyed it."
Armstead appeared in all 16 games this year for the 49ers, amassing 19 tackles, 16 quarterback hurries and two sacks – one of Carson Palmer and the other of Johnny Manziel. The majority of the defensive lineman's snaps came on passing downs as a rusher.
He pointed to the team's 5-11 record as the most challenging part of his introduction to the league.
Check out the best photos of the 2015 San Francisco 49ers rookie class.
"Losing was hard, never easy, and that was super weird for me," Armstead said. "I've always been on good teams. Even in Pop Warner, youth ball, we went to the championship. In high school, we played for championships and maybe lost five total games. Same thing in college.
"But we were all going through the same stuff, the same adversity."
In the weeks before the 49ers reconvene for the start of the offseason program in April, Armstead plans to work out with his father, Guss, who is a strength and conditioning coach in Northern California. Armstead's objectives? Get healthier, faster, stronger and take the next step in his sophomore season.
"I want to get better at everything, and I need to get better at everything," Armstead said. "There's so much to study, so much to learn, and I want to be one of the best defensive ends in football. That's my goal. I had an OK season, but I can be better. If I'm satisfied now, I'll never get better."
Like his teammates and fans, Armstead is anxious to find out who will coach the 49ers next season after Jim Tomsula was let go earlier this month. The 22-year-old is optimistic that the club can make a jump in 2016 if everything comes together.
"Whoever the new boss will be, it'll be interesting to see," Armstead said. "I know we have a lot of good pieces on our team, a lot of talent, good players. We can only go up from here, get better. I think we will."