Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw has taken strides over the offseason to gear up for his fourth year in the NFL, and his coaches have taken notice.
"Kinlaw has just been tremendous since I've been here," defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said. "The day that I came in on my interview, he was here working out. He has not missed a day of offseason training, so I'm excited to see exactly where he's going to be."
Following the 49ers joint practices with the Las Vegas Raiders, Kinlaw shared that this year's offseason training was different than his rest, as he singled out specific areas of improvement for himself – playing lower and more explosive.
He's also taking advantage of the star-power he has around him. With nine-year veteran Arik Armstead and the team's newest addition of Javon Hargrave working with him on the inside of the defensive line, Kinlaw has tapped into their wealth of knowledge.
"I've been grinding," Kinlaw said. "Just trying to make myself a better athlete as a whole, and it's paying off... I'm playing behind two of the best interior defense linemen in the game right now, so I'm just soaking in as much information as I can, like I always do. I'm blessed to be in the position that I'm in. They just do a good job of leading, setting the tone every day."
Kinlaw's dedication to his offseason training extended beyond the football field. The defensive tackle included pilates into his workout routine. With the help of his trainer, Jennifer Owens, Kinlaw has focused in on strengthening the smaller muscles in his legs to ensure stability and improve his mobility.
"My instructor does a good job of really making you work to the small muscles," Kinlaw said. "When you make the small movements, that really helps the small muscles kick in, and you really feel it and notice it on the field... The better I get at (pilates), the more tough it is, because I know exactly what I need to do."
The pilates work being translated into the defensive tackle's football game has been a huge confidence booster for Kinlaw.
Over the past two seasons, Kinlaw has suffered from injury, undergoing reconstructive knee surgery in 2021 and encountering a setback in his rehab in 2022. The consistent and meticulous workouts he's done has helped him overcome the mental block that often comes with injury. After a disciplined offseason that included strict dieting and regular prayer, Kinlaw is ready to prove that this season is his season.
"I'm really a freak," Kinlaw said. "The world is gonna see.
"I'm playing way more explosive, more violent and when the pad level comes down, I don't believe anybody can stop me... I've got two good legs and my body is improving as a whole. I'm able to do some things I've never been able to do, so that gives me superior confidence."