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Kyle Shanahan optimistic Reuben Foster will play vs. Cowboys

The 49ers defense could get a big shot in the arm.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers host a solid Dallas Cowboys offense this Sunday, and there is a good chance Robert Saleh’s defense will have a key weapon back in the lineup. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday that he is optimistic rookie linebacker Reuben Foster will play this weekend.

Shanahan initially said he “expects” Foster to play, but then adjusted it to say he is optimistic. He said that last week he was more hopeful than optimistic, and is feeling better about Foster this week. Shanahan said that if Foster gets work in all three practice sessions, things look good for this weekend.

The 49ers were shorthanded at linebacker in Week 6, following the decision to release NaVorro Bowman. They started Ray-Ray Armstrong and Brock Coyle. They struggled in a big way, primarily when Chris Thompson was catching passes out of the backfield. A healthy Reuben Foster would be a huge addition in general, but specifically in pass coverage.

If Foster does play, it will be interesting to see how much work he gets. Last week, the 49ers brought back Eric Reid, but he came off the bench with limited work. It remains to be seen what kind of snaps Foster will see in his first game back.