No. 1: Linebacker Reuben Foster
If there’s a player in absolute need of a bounce-back game, it’s linebacker Reuben Foster.
Foster, unfortunately, made Niner Noise’s list of the five worst players on the team through seven weeks:
"One of the biggest issues, however, has been Foster’s tackling abilities. Or lack thereof. Over just five games played this season, Foster has missed a total of 12 tackles, per Pro Football Focus — highest among all 49ers defenders and four more than the No. 2 player on that list, Foster’s linebacking partner, Fred Warner. If missed tackles are one of the Niners’ largest problems this season, Foster is the top culprit."
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Tackling has been a major issue for Foster, and it’s carried over into almost every other element of his game. He’s been taking improper angles, hasn’t wrapped up ball carriers and has been less than effective against the run.
Part of the reason could be a lingering shoulder injury Foster admitted is hurting his efforts.
Things won’t get any easier for him in Week 8, especially considering Cardinals running back David Johnson is the team’s legit No. 1 threat on that side of the ball.
Johnson is having a down year, having totaled just 335 rush yards and averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. That’s primarily due to opposing defenses recognizing the threat the 27-year-old running back poses, and they don’t hesitate to stack the box and try to force Arizona to beat them with someone else.
It seems like it’s working. But that doesn’t take away the fact Foster will have to be on his game when targeting Johnson when he has the ball.
The 49ers and Cardinals kick off from University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4:25 p.m. ET.