SANTA CLARA – Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster continues to be a play-maker on the 49ers’ practice field.
The first-round draft pick has never recorded an interception in his career – at any level – but he has picked off more than a handful of passes since the opening of training camp.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, appearing on the 49ers Insider Podcast on NBC Sports Bay Area, said he believes the combination of Foster and NaVorro Bowman gives his defense a lot of flexibility.
“They can do it all,” Saleh said.
Foster and Bowman figure to be every-down players in the middle of the 49ers’ defense. Bowman has led the 49ers in tackles in all four years in which he played a full season. He is returning this year after sustaining a torn Achilles in the fourth game of the season.
“There’s a lot of stress we put on our linebackers in the pass game and run game,” Saleh said. “And the big thing for linebackers, we want to see them run and hit. Just don’t ever stop running.”
In highlights from practice posted by the 49ers’ official website, Foster on Thursday recorded an interception near the sideline on a pass intended for running back Tim Hightower. Foster and Bowman converged an another pass in the middle of the field for tight end Logan Paulsen. Foster deflected the pass, which Jaquiski Tartt intercepted.
Saleh said he would keep the door on a week-to-week basis for the specific personnel groups that could give the 49ers’ an advantage against a particular opponent. But he said he has no concern about Bowman's ability to continue to play at a high level.
“He’s been good. He has no deficiencies,” Saleh said. “Bowman’s looked really, really good. Both coverage-wise, he still has his range. He’s got good quicks in and out of his breaks.”