The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their fourth practice of training camp, and will head into an off day for players on Tuesday. Coaches likely will be reviewing all the film and while some depth chart adjustments will happen, there will remain plenty of rotation.
Monday was another notable day for rookie linebacker Reuben Foster. He had an interception for the third time in four practices. Turnovers are going to garner attention, but head coach Kyle Shanahan explained why this particular interception got him a bit more excited than the other ones.
“You know, the one he got today I was probably the most excited about because it was the same one he had yesterday where it was a play action and he killed the fullback and went to tackle the back and the wide receiver was wide open behind him and he was still looking for run. He had the same play today and he didn’t fill up in the run, and he dropped back and got a pick. So, it’s just, one play he got beat on bad yesterday and today we ran the same play at him and he got an interception off of it. So, that’s what you want to see. If he’s getting interceptions all the time then you know he’s not defending the run also. So, there’s a fine line to that and it’s can he do both. That takes time.”
This is one of the things that can be hard to get a read on in training camp from the sideline. And really it can apply in game action as well. We have a decent idea of what’s going on, but we don’t know exactly what plays are being called and who has what assignment. This helps get a better grasp on how things are actually working out, as opposed to making assumptions without all the facts.
Foster has all the strength and athleticism you could want in a linebacker, but learning from his mistakes will be critical for Foster. Training camp and the preseason will provide plenty of opportunities to make mistakes. Shanahan talked about the value of being able to be aggressive in the preseason and see what works and what doesn’t without the threat of losing games that matter. It has to transition over to regular season action, but Foster is in a proverbial “safe space” to be aggressive and learn what will work and what will require improvement compared to his college time.