Niners live takes a detailed look under the hood of their new Ferrari, monitors its performance thus far, and explains why that very performance will be on full display on the track, and sooner rather than later.
Day one starter
As the title states, Reuben Foster aka “The Ferrari” is set to make his NFL debut listed as the week 1 preseason starter on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday August 11th. Foster has exhibited the tools, the passion, and the desire to be great, and succeed in the NFL from day one. According to General Manager John Lynch, “Foster has lived up to all expectations” (team website). Consider his performance so far as his resume, and his performance during the upcoming preseason as his cover letter. He comes highly endorsed with credentials to back him up.
Updated injury report
Foster has been showing up all over the field, making plays in run support and in coverage alike. He had four interceptions (two for touchdowns) and his fumble return for a touchdown in practice on Sunday as seen in the video clip.
Latest team transactions
While the comparison to “dawg mentality” greats before him like future Hall of Famer Patrick Willis and being the second coming of current All Pro teammate NaVorro Bowman may be premature, based upon what we’ve seen to this point, you can’t help but flash back to those two greats and smile while watching him play.
Unofficial team depth chart
Niners Live actually discussed the need for a player of this caliber in, Why the 49ers Need to Address the Heir Apparent to NaVorro Bowman. The 49ers did just that, in almost illegal fashion by making a trade that allowed the team to move back into the first round to the 31st pick in the 2016 NFL draft. If you missed it, let’s just say the move by John Lynch was worthy of a feature on the show, “Americas Most Wanted”. His leadership, attitude, speed, athleticism, tenacity, nose for the ball, fearlessness when making tackles, and pure relentlessness are reminiscent of the greatness of both Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. The beauty of if all though, what we’ve seen so far, is merely a snapshot of what’s to come, 49er faithful.
The battle of the WILL’s (Ray-Ray Armstrong vs. Reuben Foster)
Foster was drafted to be a linebacker, but he’s versatile enough to play multiple positions. Thus far, he’s been lights out, so regardless of where he’s lined up in 49ers camp he’s going to make an impact on the field. But, this is the NFL and he does have NFL competition that he’ll need to prove he can outperform. It’s been said that competition eliminates itself, (no pun intended), and while it’s never okay to celebrate injuries, especially to a teammate, this situation does provide the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. Unfortunately, that negative was a season-ending torn pectoral injury to former Super Bowl MVP Malcom Smith.
Recent article alert: Injuries are Part of the Game; Opportunity Knocks; Next Man Up
Though the 49ers have suffered a tough blow to their linebacker depth, and Foster has worked his way to seeing first team reps, essentially threatening veteran Ray-Ray Armstrong for the starting spot, he still has to prove himself against opposing NFL talent. Funny how things work out, because he’ll get his first chance to prove his greatness in his first NFL start on Friday.
11 Observations from Wednesday’s practice 08/09/2017
Ray-Ray is also a versatile WILL linebacker with the ability to tackle and cover, and he can also play the MIKE linebacker position as Niners Live discussed in, Looking at Ray-Ray’s role within DC Robert Saleh 4-3 Under Scheme, so please don’t misconstrue the praise of Foster as a knock on Ray-Ray. To further validate the value of the two linebackers, in a recent press conference when asked what would it look like if both linebackers were on the field at the same time, Robert Saleh stated, “Ray-Ray is playing MIKE.” Don’t get it twisted, the greatness of Foster cannot and will not be denied, but neither will the reliability and worth of Ray-Ray. With the proper rotation/personnel groupings, let’s say a nickel package on obvious passing downs, the 49ers two best cover linebackers will have the opportunity to use their talents to help this defense again be dominant.
This Ferrari will come in first, winner’s mentality
Reuben Foster aka “The Ferrari” just like his name, is fast on his way at a high speed to achieving greatness, and the future is bright for this Foster and this 49ers defense as a unit. Look for Foster to start fast and finish first as he strives to help give this defense CPR, earn defensive rookie of the year honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl. He still has some growing to do, and his work ethic shows it’ll get done based on how he learns from his mistakes. And once he steps foot on that field as a starter in preseason, best believe the opportunity will motivate him to be even better entering the regular season. If Bowman is the heartbeat of this defense, Foster will be the pulse. Look out NFL offenses, here comes a Ferrari on a mission for greatness, speeding through your offensive line and into your backfield. Go Niners!
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Kevin Mitchell Staff Writer at Niners Live and Co-Author, Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims.