No. 4: Reuben Foster Gets Shut Down for the Rest of 2018
The 2017 and 2018 seasons couldn’t have been any more different for second-year linebacker Reuben Foster.
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Well, aside from one thing: injuries.
Foster was playing at a Pro Bowl level his rookie season, likely prevented from actually receiving the accolade from having missed six games. In 2018, though, he regressed and then some, still leading the defense with 12 missed tackles.
A shoulder injury has been the primary culprit. It’s tough watching Foster trying to make plays literally with one arm, and it’s likely carrying over to almost every aspect of his game.
The 49ers need Foster to be fully healthy moving forward. And if 2018 is awash with setbacks, there’s little point to keeping him active. Unlike last season, San Francisco’s depth at linebacker is OK enough to get by. While not totally perfect, the trio of linebackers — Fred Warner, Malcolm Smith and Dekoda Watson — can man the line over these final six contests.
At some point, perhaps very soon, the Niners elect to shut down their budding linebacker while looking to evaluate the other veterans, seeing if there’s a niche for them in 2019.