San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan gave linebacker NaVorro Bowman a day off, and it provided a big opportunity for linebacker Reuben Foster. The 49ers rookie got some first team reps in Bowman’s MIKE spot, according to reports from practice. Second team linebacker Brock Coyle suffered a rib injury, which also contributed to the move up.
Kyle Shanahan said they wanted to get Foster some MIKE reps in practice, and were going to get him going with the second team today. It would give him a chance to make the calls for the defense, and cross-train at a different position. When Coyle went down, Foster moved up.
Foster reportedly had a couple sacks, and managed a tipped pass while pressuring Brian Hoyer. He had three interceptions over the first four practices in group drills, but that all came with the third team. That’s not to totally discount it, but following it up with big plays on the first team defense is a great sign for Foster’s development. Shanahan said after practice that Foster was solid, but as would be expected, he made some mistakes in the calls during his run there.
Bowman will be back at practice on Friday and Saturday before the team’s day off on Sunday. It will be intriguing to see if Foster’s performance today gets him moved up to the second-team defense. Foster had been playing WILL with the third team defense. Ray-Ray Armstrong and Brock Coyle have been handling second team linebacker reps. If Coyle is unable to go on Friday due to the rib injury, Foster likely would take on the second-team WILL snaps alongside Ray-Ray Armstrong.