The San Francisco 49ers offense had a big day in their Week 10 win over the New York Giants, but the defense put together a strong performance, too. There were several standout performers, but for the second straight week, rookie linebacker Reuben Foster deserves a round of praise.
Foster was active for the second straight week, and played every single snap for the first time this season. Ankle and rib injuries sidelined and slowed him through the first eight weeks, but the past two weeks we have seen what the 49ers might have in their rookie linebacker.
Pro Football Focus handed out their game balls for Week 10, and for the second straight week, Foster got the nod. He finished the day with four stops and a quarterback hit, and gave up two receptions, both for single digit yards. Stats aside, we have seen him moving sideline to sideline disrupting plays, and forcing the opponent to game-plan away from him.
Injuries have been a big concern for Foster, and they reared their ugly head through the first two months of the season. But he is showing that when healthy, he is a cornerstone player you build around. The injuries will remain on the radar, but the more games he can play from start to finish, the easier it will be to stop thinking about the injuries.
Here are a few of his comments following the game.
You waited a while for this one. How gratifying is it to see that validated with one in the ‘win’ column?
“It feels great just to know that the hard work and effort paid off. Not giving up paid off. All of us just staying strong and staying positive.”
You said 0-9 but not for long last week. Why were you confident that you guys would take care of business this week?
“This team doesn’t give up, no matter what. I’ve seen a lot out of a lot of rookies. I’m impressed and I’m honored to play with them.”
Did that ever waver this year, even during some of those bad times? Were you ever worried about people giving up?
“No, because every day, even when we lost, everyone came in with the right mindset of getting better. We just have to keep it consistently. We just can’t let this win affect us. Enjoy it, but you can’t let it affect us.”
Two games in a row now you’ve finished healthy. How much does that help you get comfortable in the system?
“It’s great for poise and confidence, just to know that I can finish a game in this league and knowing that my body is getting back right. It amazes me every day how I’m able to finish more and more.”
As a defensive unit when you make a stop and get off the field after delivering big plays, what impact does that have?
“It changes the momentum. It’s wonderful for all of us just knowing that we have that confidence and we’re all showing excitement and passion. When you see your brother showing that passion, you’re going to want to show that passion, too. You want to deliver the same effect that he’s delivering.”
I talked to a couple veteran players here today. Obviously, veterans don’t normally want to be part of a rebuilding effort. They’re excited because of you guys and the way all of you guys, the young guys, work. What do you think it is about this locker room and this group of guys that allowed you to keep pushing?
“It’s great knowing the vets have our back, the rookies’ back. It’s a lot of stress for the rookies just to come in and try to stand up and try to earn a position. You do your job and whoever is doing their best for the organization, you own the spot, you own the position. It’s just really hands-on and making somebody feel comfortable.”