49ers say rookie linebacker Reuben Foster can be even better

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Reuben Foster (56) tackles Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray (29) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/John Hefti)

SANTA CLARA — Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster needs to change his tackling technique so he won’t destroy his body.

That’s what 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday.

Here’s what defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said about Foster on Thursday.

“This is going to sound ludicrous, but I think he can be even more explosive and more violent when he hits with proper technique. When he learns to run his feet through contact, he’s going to destroy people without hurting himself.”

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This article has 98 Comments

  1. I like this kid, he needs to bulk up and get his technique down and he will become a force to be reckon with. As a whole I like this defensive scheme even tho I think the defense underperformed. New system, many injuries and spending an enormous amount of time on the field early in the season has diminished the stats but they are coming on as of late.

        1. How about you stick ice-picks in your ears for thinking those bad thoughts? Singletary thought Willis was going to be a bust when the 49ers coached the Senior Bowl that year. And he’s been such a complete failure as a coach that he hasn’t been able to get a coaching job in the NFL for the past three years.

    1. perhaps Shanny ..(in the off-season) .. could call up
      Ronnie Lott .. to come in and spend some time with Foster and ..
      teach him the finer art of … the .. “oooh Hit”

      If not … Reuben … might not last till his second contract !

      1. Yeah, the art of loosing a finger tip or two…

        I think Foster will be just fine with a full off-season behind him. Looking forward to the draft, the signing of undrafted free agents, and picking up a few veteran FAs.

      2. I’d love it but lots tackles wouldn’t be legal today.
        I hate the way they tackle today, leading with the shoulder and all. If I player keeps their head up, so they slam into the opponent with their face mask, they should be fine… It’s when they drop their eyes and lead with the crown, that they get messed up.

      1. They’re lucky it takes two days to post. I’ll wait, and then the reminder is coming.
        I hate that city, their fans, their teams and now their writers!
        Est2012frauds! See if I can last longer than Seb or Mary. 😛

    2. Dude, here in St. Louis the 101.1 ESPN radio talking heads are all over Garoppolo’s jock. I mean, their as giddy as school girls going to their first Boy Band concert. It’s not just 49er fans. It’s freakin’ everywhere.

    1. Houston,
      That’s what it sounds like. Too bad for Armstead. He needs to prove himself and have a productive camp if he wants to change that.

  2. My wish list on defense (starters) …new additions

    ILB = Avery Williamson or a Rookie
    DE = Demarcus Lawrence
    CB = Rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick
    OLB = Sam Acho or Barkevious Mingo

    1. I’d go with a rookie over Avery Williamson. He’s ok but I think the 49ers can do better.
      Demarcus Lawrence isn’t leaving Dallas.
      Isn’t Minkah Fitzpatrick projected to be a Safety. I’d be perfectly fine with drafting Minkah but pretty sure he will be a safety.
      I like Acho and Mingo. If I had to choose between the 2 I’d pick Acho.

  3. Coming off surgery Foster has had a certain susceptibility to that shoulder, but the problem may be a little wider around the league as tacklers use their shoulders more and helmets less. Hopefully he can find a sustainable technique.
    Each adjustment has some repercussions. Avoiding shots to the head and neck has lead to more contact near the knees of runners and receivers, and also allowed runners more chances to hurdle over tacklers aiming low.

    1. It’s not the shoulder, a stinger is a neck injury. They symptoms appear in the arms, but it’s a neck injury. Specifically, the nerves in the Brachial Plexus (it’s located at C-5 through T-1), where your arm nerves leave the spine, are being stretched and damaged at the nerve roots.

      There are three things you need to do if you suffer stingers from football:

      1. Strengthen your neck. That helps prevent the stretching and unnatural positioning of the neck that causes the injury.
      2. Improve your technique. Too often he drops his head, which causes his neck to be pushed back on impact, stretching the nerves and giving him stingers.
      3. Extra-support. Where a neck roll or other motion limiting device such as a neck-roll or butterfly restrictor.

      While you usually recover quickly from a stinger. They can be bad enough to leave you with partial paralyzation and muscle weakness for months. He’s, frankly, been pretty lucky they’ve been so short considering what he does on the field as a tackler.

      If you get unlucky with nerve damage in this area, like me, you can suffer partial, permanent paralysis. For me, it’s pretty mild as I can’t move my left index finger to the right when my hand is pronated and I’ve lost some coordination. But I know men who got it much worse so I don’t complain.

    1. that is a great article it hits the nail on the head. with the cap space we have signing G to a long term contract is a no brainer

    2. me-like …….

      “The days when the 49ers had to massively overpay to convince veteran free agents to come to San Francisco are probably over.”…….

      “the Niners could very viably target Bell at a $15 million-per-year salary without squeezing their cap situation at all.

      By drafting an interior lineman like Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, the 49ers would suddenly look very exciting on offense. A backfield with Bell and Juszczyk behind Garoppolo? “

      1. I was an early fan of the Q. Nelson pick but the more I read about how far even great college O linemen are from being NFL ready I have changed my mind. Sign FA O linemen and draft with the #11 pick the best CB or pass rusher available.

          1. He scares me a bit. High risk, very high reward.
            (But I thought Atlanta totally blew it with the Julio trade up and I was wrong. One of the few mega trades that worked out.)

    3. Good article and the caution on Flynn and Bulger are worth noting. A lot of posters have made a point of noting JGs quick release (Mario-like). I can’t think of any that said the same in comparing his release to Bulger who also was lightning quick.

  4. The best way to keep Jimmy G legit is to keep adding pieces around him.
    The Niners have the cap space and the picks to make the team better.

    This isn’t just about Jimmy G. It’s about completing the rebuild by adding players via need. That’s how the 49ers become relevant again.
    John Lynch still has lots of work to do and in his first year as GM, he’s done a good job.

    The ability now to attract free agents is huge!

  5. In today’s Harbaugh news:
    NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who asked five NFL personnel executives which current college coach “would make the best NFL coach.” Petersen and Shaw each received two votes, with Iowa State’s Matt Campbell collecting the fifth. (Not mentioned: Saban, Harbaugh, Meyer, Swinney.)
    Bears and Indy would still love to have Harbaugh, methinks. But that harbaugh offense works better in college than in the pros.(as, for that matter, does Shaw’s offense)

    1. Isn’t Shaw’s offense pretty much exactly what Harbaugh was doing?

      On another note, watching Stanford the last 2 games it jumps out how they need to upgrade athleticism if they want to jump that last hurdle.

      1. Yes, Shaw basically runs Harbaugh’s offense with a few minor wrinkles. It’s a brand of football that works very well for Stanford, but not for NFL or even for many colleges with regular National Championship aspirations. Not sure why Shaw get so much love from NFL FO’s.

        Stanford could and should have won both the two games, but the defense could not hold their end of the bargain, and the redshirt freshman QB got rattled at key moments. The D lost starters to injury before and during each game. The current generation of Stanford are way more athletic than they used to be 20 years ago. However, there are only that many high school athletes countrywide that will pass admission hurdles.

    2. No one in the NFL will hire Harbaugh because no one wants to work with an A hole.
      As good of a coach as he is, his reputation for being difficult is not worth it.

      Ironic that Harbaugh and Kaepernick have the same fate in getting back into the NFL.

      1. Just like Kaepernick is not that good of a QB, he’s not that good of a coach. Just like Seattle owned Kaepernick, the good college coaches eat him alive. He’s 4-9 against Top-25 teams and he’s Urban Myer’s *****. He couldn’t even keep his talent-loaded Michigan team in the Top-25.

        What he is, is a formula guy with no answers when his formula doesn’t work. You watch Shanahan’s offense and you an offense run by someone who knows how to create situations that put defenses in no-win situations. And while the players may not execute them, he’s given them the opportunity. You watch Harbaugh, you see a guy with a hammer doing furniture repair.

      2. It seems like plenty of HCs are aho’s. If they keep winning they stick around. Harbs could get another shot at the NFL.

        1. At the end of the day it’s a people business and results oriented business.
          Once the winning stopped, Harbaugh had nothing else to rely on.

      3. Prime,
        I think Belichick kind of disproves your no A hole rule. Winning forgives all, the only reason Harbaugh was fired is Baalke was an idiot.

        1. I don’t think Belicheck tells his owner to leave the lockerroom and says it s only for men.

          You can be an a hole but I think you have still have to respect your superiors and the ones who sign your pay cheques.

          1. “I don’t think Belicheck tells his owner to leave the lockerroom and says it s only for men.”

            I don’t think Kraft is on Twitter either

    3. Lol you guys kill me. Harbaugh would have a job tomorrow if he declared he wanted to go back to the NFL. He had one of the greatest runs of any NFL HC in history and turned a terrible Michigan program around in one year. I continue to be amused at the attempts to diminish the only successful HC the Niners have had in almost two decades. Just ridiculous.

      1. I totally disagree. Before going to MICH his agent must have fielded interest. Didn’t seem like the league was too interested.

        People forget the league owners are like a brotherhood. Just like a NFL lockerroom and the mafia.
        You spread the word and never go against one another.

        1. You have a really bad memory Prime. He could have had a number of NFL jobs when he left the Niners and he has been sought after since he arrived at Michigan with teams trying to get him back in the NFL.

          This is just from last year:


          Not surprisingly, NFL teams have noticed that the man who won a lot of games in their league is still winning a lot of games, and according to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, some of those NFL teams would really like Harbaugh to return to winning NFL games.
          Per Freeman:

          I keep hearing several teams are going to make the Michigan coach mega-offers. He won’t take them. Harbaugh isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I don’t care if he’s offered a trillion dollars, a starship and a Cuban cigar. Harbaugh. Is. Not. Leaving.
          That won’t stop teams from trying.

          If he were coaching somewhere other than Michigan, I’d believe a return to the NFL would be possible at some point, but he could’ve had another NFL gig after leaving San Francisco. He chose Michigan instead, and he chose it for a reason.
          It’s where he wants to be.

          1. I’m a guy who goes off reality. He hasn’t been hired by any NFL teams. You might think that’s his choice but the reality is, the NFL is the where the best coach. If he was so highly sought after, be whays it been, 4 years, what hasn’t he been hired?
            It’s his reputation for being a a hole and not developing any talent while on the pros. Including the guy you deemed franchise QB.

            MICH was the safe landing spot for him. He won’t get another NFL job.

              1. He’ll be back when he wants to be back and anybody who denies it is ignoring reality. Your scenario is a complete fabrication based on nothing but your own opinion. Nothing to back it up at all.

              2. And yours is based on a few articles you’ve googled.
                The reality is his coaching career takes on the same pattern everywhere he goes.

                The fact is, he isn’t in the NFL. I don’t think it’s his choice based on how his coaching career has gone. He wears on people and he can’t win the big one. How long has he been at MU? Still hasn’t done what he was suppose to do. Sounds familiar.

              3. Prime you are on an island with MosesZD and ignoring people who actually have access to this kind of info. There have been numerous reports since he arrived at Michigan that NFL teams wanted to hire him. He turned the Michigan program around immediately and just completed his 3rd year in which he lost his starting QB and had a young team to begin with. You look really foolish trying to pass off the story you’ve made up.

                His career has for the most part been him succeeding and then moving on to a better job.

                This reminds me of the time you came on here saying Mike McCarthy was going to be fired and then couldn’t name a source or where you heard it. 3 years later McCarthy is still Coaching in GB.

              4. “The reality is his coaching career takes on the same pattern everywhere he goes.”

                Very true. He wins everywhere he goes.

                USD was fine with him, but Stanford was a better job. Stanford was fine, but the 49ers were a better job. His personality was too big for York so he was let go. The Yorks did something similar to Mariucci as well. He’s fine in Michigan. Yes some folks outside the program may complain but he’s not being asked to leave.

              5. I said McCarthy should be fired and he should. Not that he was going to be.
                He has had one of the most talented teams and they’ve won once and underachieved since he’s been there.

                You know Rocket your problem is you keep sayin things that never happen.
                Don’t tell me Harbaugh is this or that. When he is back in the NFL then talk.
                Like trying to convince us that the Jags lost to the 49ers because they imploded. Umm, no, the 49ers just flat out beat them.

                The fact is Harbaugh is not in the NFL. Whatever those reasons are, don’t tell me if he wanted to be in the NFL he would. That’s your opinion and so far, considering the Kap franchise proclamation, the Jags, amd now Harbaugh, you are wrong on all 3 counts!

              6. No you said you saw a report that he was going to be fired and then couldn’t name where you saw it.

                I’m not going to continue to waste time Prime. Numerous NFL reporters have said Harbaugh has been offered jobs and it happens every season. You made up your own story about how the NFL views him with nothing to back it up. That’s about all that needs to be said.

              7. The only thing that needs to be said is if he was as good a coach and highly sought out, he would be in the NFL.
                He’s not.

          2. rocket

            It’s where he wants to be…. He’s going to have to do a little more than that…rumblings are that the heavy donors to UM are not real satisfied with his results, and considering that he pulled the same stunt at Michigan that he pulled at SF…The team was built by his predecessor…Brady Hoch, and he stepped in just in time to benefit himself with Hoch’s ‘Letters of Intent’…. the only difference is that he didn’t have Alex Smith to trade to keep Kaepernick…That alone should keep him out of the NFL….

        2. Jim Harbaugh can certainly get an NFL job if he wanted to.

          Yes, Michigan struggled this year. But, that was more due to circumstance than poor coaching. They only had 6 returning starters (5 on offense and 1 on defense). They had to replace 10 starters on defense and several key spots on offense. Michigan had more players selected in the 2017 draft than any other school. That means they lost a lot of talent. Yes, they’ve recruited well, but that talent is unproven at the college level.

          Look for a big bounce back for Michigan in 2018. Harbaugh has established a recruiting juggernaut. He’s setup for a long run of success. There’s no reason for him to leave Michigan at this point in time.

  6. Still thinking interior offensive linemen , wr ,RB . Defense just the other half of the backfield , a de that can get after the QB . Still think defense needs more help than offense . Shoot the corner back we have ,gets beat like scrambled eggs . Before he gets on the field . Just doesn’t have the tools , mentally,or physically. So defensive end 1st , offensive line and cornerback 2 nd . 3 Rd key offensive players ( ie RB,WR,OLB .) They did a good job last year with late picks ,kittle breida ,and the wr .
    IMO another good draft ,a good free agency, one more year ,and the playoffs are in sight .
    Closer than we as fans have been in some time . Happy new year 49er fans .

    1. Can’t see paying $12 to $15 million for a RB even if it is Bell. Shannies have already shown that they can spin gold out of late round RBs. If the desire is a skill position, then upgrade the RZ targets with a big TE or big WR. J. Graham would be in the $7.5 million range. While Graham is on the other side of thirty, I maintain that with the acquisition of Jimmy G, the team has moved it’s timetable to make the playoffs forward by two to three years. Hence, now it might make sense to sign Graham to a 2-3 year contract.

      1. I agree. The system is designed for a one-cut, go north kind of runner. You can get those as mid-round picks, like Devonta Freeman (Round 4) who is a 3x pro-bowler for the Falcons and impending FA. And, frankly, a back I think the 49ers would be more likely to sign than Bell since he knows Shanahan’s offense.

        And the thing is, while Bell gets the most hype, I think Freeman is every bit as good, if not a bit better. He’ s just had to split his opportunities because that’s what the Falcons have done when he’s been there. Kind of like how Craig had to split time with Tyler or whomever. Bell hasn’t had that issue.

      2. The intrigue with Bell is that he gives you an instant upgrade in the passing game to go along with his running ability. Remember how dominant the Shanahan offense was with Ricky Watters in ’94? That’s the type of explosive ability you’d be acquiring, and you could still have money left for a Graham at only $7.5.

    2. I don’t see it happening. Bell is a blue chip OW, but Not a value proposition for Shanny’s offense.

      I don’t see Shanalynch signing a player as soft as Graham. Graham lacks what Harbaugh referred to as “contact courage”.

      The only areas where big FA money will get bang-for-the-buck for Shanalynch are a solid starting corner, a starter-caliber right guard, and a 8-10 sack-a-season edge rusher.

    1. No it is not. The guys that are going to be available are the ones that didn’t quite make it as elite WRs from that great 2014 crop, and/ or have injury or other issues. If a team needs a starting calibre WR there are certainly options available. But as to whether they are better than what the 49ers already have starting I have my doubts.

  7. Gore at 34 (playing for an arguably less talented team than the Niners) has 11 more yards than Hyde…. It’s freaking unbelievable that he has his career-high number of carries (36) in driving snow in Buffalo.

      1. True, but not by much (Hyde averaging 3.8 ypc and Gore 3.6 ypc). Gore could be back next season as a backup for some team in the league, but not the Niners.

    1. perhaps there’ll be consideration for our “T.B.D.” OC position…making some on this blog happy…that we finally have an “OC”, in name, at least….

  8. Ben Volin

    Most interesting thing I heard today was Rob Ninkovich on WEEI saying the Patriots made a mistake by trading Jimmy Garoppolo. I agree

  9. It looks like Mitchell might be the secret ingredient.

    Joe Fann

    The #49ers have scored on every single play in which Earl Mitchell has played offense.#FactsOnly

  10. 49ers pass offense DVOA:
    Season average: Rank 17.
    AJ: Rank 6.
    Last week: Rank 1.
    Jags seasonal DVOA on pass defense: Rank 1. Last Week: Rank 30.
    All Hail Jimmy G!!

  11. Technique more than weight is the key for Foster. He could put on 10-15 lbs and still hurt himself because of his fierce hitting style. Reid made all-pro his rookie year because of his fierce playing style. A couple of concussions later he had to change his tackling style if he wanted to continue to play football.

    Willis and Bowman weren’t considered big LB’s but were great tacklers that made the occasional big hit. Willis and Bowman were very fast and got to the ball quickly.
    Foster needs to learn that getting to the ball quickly, without having to make the big hit will extend his career.

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