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Marcus Rush shines in his opportunity vs Denver

The second year player from Michigan State took advantage of the moment to show why he’s worthy of a spot on the roster

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It’s not every day that a player has the opportunity to step into the spotlight that has been vacated by those being held on the sidelines as a precautionary measure. It’s even less of a percentage of those players that have been able to take advantage of those moments. It really can only happen during the preseason and that’s exactly what San Francisco 49ers linebacker Marcus Rush did in Denver in the second week of the preseason.

Following the game Pro Football Focus had Rush ranked as one of the highest graded players in week two of the preseason. DC Jim O’Neil also spoke about him during his availability before practice to start week three of the preseason.

I see him as a complete outside backer. He can rush the quarterback, he can set edges in the run game and he’s very good in pass coverage with what we ask him to do.

Rush also impressed O’Neil by being in the film room for over an hour prior to the game, watching tackles and formations. He said it was good to see that extra work paying off for the linebacker on the field. Those flashes during the game can get him more practice time which leads to more time on the field during games.

Rush spoke to the media following his three sack performance in Denver. Here’s the full transcript:

That had to have been fun for you.

Oh yeah, awesome.

Why do you think you were able to get through and get multiple runs at the quarterback?

It could be several things. I haven’t seen the film yet but I know I can say thanks to the corners and the safeties for holding off the quarterback from throwing it because he could have gotten the ball off quick if he wanted to.

Are you talking about the one that got away where you had Lynch wrapped up for a second?

Yeah, I’ve already heard a lot about it.

You have?

Yeah. (laughing) Some of those you can’t take back obviously. I’ll make sure i get him down next time.

What did the year on the practice squad do for you to get ready for this opportunity?

Well, I was going against Joe Staley so it gave me a chance to kind of work moves. I watch guys on film, Von Miller, guys like him and just perfecting the craft. I know I have the ability, it’s a matter of perfecting it, having those main moves that you can use, being confident when you get on the field to be able to use them.

Since you can’t tackle quarterbacks in practice, how much does that ratchet it up for you coming into a game situation?

This is what we are expected to take down happily, that’s part of the job but you know it feels great to tackle the quarterback. You always get there and you have to pull off in practice and to be able to finally get him down, it’s that feeling that you always think about when you’re not pulling them down.

Did you have a chance to talk to Von Miller over the last few days?

No. I definitely watched the offensive film though, just to see what kind of moves he was doing against our guys.

Any new ones that you saw him do?

There’s one that I want to try but it’s kind of hard to explain. (laughing)

Have you tried it?

Not yet. I mean it’s not the time to go out in a game and do it.

What kind of moves do you use out there?

A lot of speed rush, I felt like I could get the edge on most of those tackles and they were throwing their hands pretty hard so I was swiping their hands off me and that was the main move, and then you can just work off moves after that.

Are you going to come up with a sack dance after that?

Probably going to have to. I’m sure I’ll get made fun of for whatever I did tonight.

You almost had four sacks, not sure what the preseason sack record is but it’s gotta be pretty close. Is this going to stick with you?

It’s always going to be in the back of your head but I mean you gotta move on. There’s always more opponents and there’s the next preseason game I gotta worry about. I gotta fix that mistake, there’s gotta be a reason. I gotta wrap up better, I gotta work on that in practice and it’s something I gotta continue doing.

You were kind of a long shot of making the roster until tonight. How big a deal is tonight?

I don’t really think about it like that. It’s day to day in the NFL, you never know what’s going to happen and you just know that these preseason games are important for a guy that’s a free agent and you have to take the full opportunity everyday. Preseason games, you gotta put the film out for all other teams, it’s not just an interview for the 49ers.