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Should the 49ers play Reuben Foster during the preseason?

It’s a crummy situation, but with two games where they are without their best linebacker, should they get reps to other players against other first-team NFL offenses?

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was suspended two games at the conclusion of his legal issues and now the 49ers can breathe a sigh of relief that it at least wasn’t anything worse. Two games still bites and now the 49ers will need to find a replacement for Foster against the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.

Foster can still take part in team practices and preseason games, but once Week 1 hits, his suspension goes into effect, making him unavailable. On one end, the 49ers have recently welcomed back Malcolm Smith who missed all of 2017 after a pectoral tear. They also have Brock Coyle and signed Korey Toomer, but then there’s rookie Fred Warner who needs all the playing time he can get—especially if he’s Foster’s replacement.

It makes you wonder if maybe holding Foster—who has experience against NFL-level competition—out of the games and letting Smith and Warner try and gel might be a better idea. Obviously in camp they have their hierarchy set on what teams the players practice with (first team, second team, etc), but maybe it would be good to get Fred Warner or Brock Coyle in the first team on game day to get some chemistry.

This was a similar question asked when the New England Patriots had to deal with Tom Brady’s suspension following Deflategate. Brady ended up playing in the preseason and then once the season began, served out his suspension as Jimmy Garoppolo took the reigns of the offense. Considering Garoppolo won his two starts, it may have worked out ok.

Warner and Coyle definitely need some preparation with the first team offense but would that help them more than it hurts Reuben Foster? Would you bench Foster for the preseason?


Should the 49ers bench Reuben Foster for the preseason?

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