Player Feature: Javon Kinlaw
His first name is pronounced juh-VONN.
Kinlaw intercepted former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown, marking his first career interception and first career touchdown.
Kinlaw, known for his work ethic on and off the field, found an extra source of motivation in his daughter, Eden Amara, born in April of 2019. Heading into his final season with South Carolina, Kinlaw reached new heights on the defensive line and earned national accolades. "When she was born, not that he didn't work hard before, but I saw a guy that was on a mission," said South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp.
Despite living in difficult circumstances at times, Kinlaw credits his childhood for his maturity. "It made me a man at a young age, [I] grew up early definitely," said Kinlaw. "It's been a long journey, just coming from the bottom and slowly working my way up. I'm really proud of myself and all that I've accomplished."
Read more about Javon Kinlaw by clicking his bio below.
This month's "Coach's Corner" comes from defensive line coach Kris Kocurek
In 2020, the defense performed very well despite several injuries, how important is it to have depth in the NFL?
"It's probably the most overlooked portion of building a defense, but one of the most important things that we always look for. We don't just look to make sure we have depth, but we want to have quality depth. At some point in time someone's going to get hurt and your depth may have to prevail through one game or a month and in last season's case majority of the season. Like I said, it's one of the most overlooked aspects of our game especially for those on the outside looking in. The backbone of the team is our core values which every single guy on our team embodies. At the end of the day your depth is going to win you games."
How do you like to have your defensive linemen balance between rushing the passer and having to focus on stopping the run first?
"I would say our approach this is different than a lot over teams in the NFL. We want our guys to be fast, physical and aggressive in everything that they do so we're going to attack the line of scrimmage and be disruptive. If we play physical, aggressive and fast we can disrupt the run game and also create the amount of pressure we want to create on the quarterback. We want to make sure we are being disruptive in both aspects. It's difficult to do but it starts with technique and repetition so that it becomes second nature to our guys. We want them to be extremely technical players. Whatever we do on defense it's going to be with an aggressive nature. For us, there's not a drastically different approach between defending the line of scrimmage and rushing the passer because it's done through an aggressive, attacking and disruptive nature."
How do you keep your high energy so consistent throughout the season?
"It's just part of the way I'm wired. Football gets me excited. When my alarm clock goes off in the morning and my feet hit the ground my heartrate goes up because I get excited about going to work. Being around the players, striving for goals together and working hard each day, gets the juices flowing for me. Then once we hit the field, the anticipation and excitement come and as soon as that practice horn blows it's like a gameday atmosphere for me. It's just who I am. I love the game and helping guys reach their highest potential. I try to bring the most energy I can and hopefully it's contagious and can lift up the people around me"
What are the top qualities that you look for in each position of the defensive line?
"I'd break it down to the individual person. When we bring guys in, we're looking for that one elite trait that jumps off the page and it's different with every player. Every guy brings a different skill set to the table. Whether it's speed, or strength or leadership, each guy on our roster has a trait that sets them apart. We look for those elite traits because when we put them together we have one heck of a group. But across the board every guy we bring in we look for that self-starter mentality so when things are hard you know they can rise above it.
"If I had to choose one skill set I want to see any position on the defensive line it's explosion. We're looking for explosive athletes. I want guys who can generate explosion out of their stance, win first contact on blockers and play with a knock-back type mentality up front. And then in addition to that I just want to see guys play with extreme effort to the football."
To read more about Coach Kocurek, click the bio below.
WON of Us: Stephanie
Stephanie caught onto the team during the glory days of the 1980s and loves creating memories with her family and other women who love the game.
My earliest memory of watching the 49ers was when I was six years old. That memory was, The Catch! I just remember hearing the play-by-play of Don Klein and the rise of excitement of his voice that everyone could feel watching at home. My dad and I were watching, and he didn't grow up a 49ers fan but that play sent him out of his seat and it pushed me to be Forever Faithful. I even remember saying to him, "Dad, I really like this team."
At eight years old, I moved to Monterey with my dad and my fandom flourished. Dwight Clark was a favorite of mine, but I absolutely loved the connection between Joe Montana and Jerry Rice (Steve Young and Rice's chemistry was pretty good too). I even remember in high school, I had friends who would invite me over on Monday's to watch Melrose Place and I never attended because I always preferred tuning in for Monday Night Football.
What do you love about WON?
It's great for us women who love the game of football and gives us a place to come together with other women who love the 49ers and gives us a place to be together. I'm a mother of three boys, our TVs are pretty much always on sports, but it's great to escape the boys and enjoy sports with the ladies of WON. I love that we have content and events curated just for us women who love the game at the highest level in Northern California. It's also so fun to meet so many women and see their stories within the fan base.
Was there one inspirational moment in team history that confirmed your 49ers fandom?
The Catch! In my opinion the announcers make or break the game viewing experience. We've been so lucky to have great local announcers. I go back to the time of The Catch and hearing Don Klein, hearing his expression and emotion to make everyone excited regardless of how they consume the game. Its memories that like that NFC Championship game that can bring your entire family together. I'm so appreciative that the Niners have been able to consistently create these memories that connect us all.
Get to know WON member Stephanie.
What 49ers tradition or superstition do you/your family have?
We don't have any real superstitions in our family, but every gameday we have our red & gold gear on. As a family of five, we don't make it to as many games as we would like, but we tune for every game no matter the record of the team or the score of any game. For the 2019 season, which was so magical to experience, I did have a specific outfit that I felt like I needed to wear for every game as the team made a run at Super Bowl LIV. My other fun new tradition is a text thread that I have with a few ladies that always watch every game like I do. It's a fun and different way to discuss the game than I do with my sons and husband.
What impact has the 49ers had on your life?
As a woman who has worn many hats in my life (as an EMT, teacher, mother, wife, etc.), the impact of the team that sticks out is how the 49ers can bring people together and motivate them in everyday life. I love the family atmosphere, not only at the stadium but also when you run into someone on the street in 49ers gear, even if they are a complete stranger, you feel like you know them. You have common experiences with them and feel like you can approach them like a member of a big family.
For the fourth year in a row, 49ers EDU are honored to recognize five Bay Area educators for superlative achievement in teaching with the Dr. Harry Edwards "Follow Your Bliss" Award. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have risen beyond the call of duty to emotionally and technologically support their students all the while trying to re-learn how to teach their classes effectively in a virtual setting and manage their lives working from home. Knowing the challenges that the education system faces at this time, we are looking to honor educators that embody an individual who leads our future generation with purpose, passion, dedication, and love.
Each of the five awardees will receive a $5,000 stipend for in-classroom or digital materials and other necessary resources for the 2021 – 2022 academic year, mentorship from Dr. Edwards for the recipients and his or her fellow educators, and formal recognition at a virtual 49ers event with family and colleagues. Apply or Nominate here: www.49ers.com/bliss
- Must be currently working in one of the nine counties of the Bay Area.
- The teacher is a full-time educator for grades K – 12.
- The administrator is a principal, superintendent or other full-time employee at a K-12 school.
- The community educator is affiliated with a museum, after-school program, or nonprofit organization dedicated to providing learning opportunities for K-12 students.
- All applicants must be deeply committed to teaching students and have a positive and lasting impact on youth;
- Have exceptional teaching skills as evidenced by effective instructional practices and learning results; and
- Have an engaging and inspirational presence that motivates and impacts learners.
NOMINATIONS DUE: APRIL 9TH, 2021
This Month in 49ers History
April 20, 1994
Free agent linebacker Ken Norton, Jr. signed with the 49ers. In his first season with San Francisco, the club captured its fifth Super Bowl title. He became the only player to win Super Bowl rings in three straight seasons (two with Dallas). Norton tied an NFL record in 1995 by returning two interceptions for touchdowns in a 44-10 win over the Rams. After each score he celebrated by firing a series of punches at the goal post, comparable to those once thrown by his father, former WBC heavyweight champion Ken Norton, Sr. Norton Jr. played in San Francisco from 1994-2000 and earned two Pro Bowl berths.