49ers notes: Reuben Foster set to return; call on Josh Gordon made

49ers notes: Reuben Foster set to return; call on Josh Gordon made

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster has served a two-game suspension for violations of the NFL’s policies on substances of abuse and personal conduct.

Foster has been allowed to attend meetings at the 49ers’ practice facility, but on Monday he will be permitted to work out and practice with his teammates. He is eligible to play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Not only is Foster a key playmaker on defense, his personality is felt on both sides of the ball, too.

“Lot of energy,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said of Foster after the 49ers’ 30-27 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. “He’s an exciting guy to be around. Always smiling, always having a good time. It’ll be good to have him back.”

The 49ers struggled with missed tackles in the first two games of the season in Foster’s absence. Foster should help the 49ers in that area. It is a discipline that is difficult to practice during the week due to risk of injury, coach Kyle Shanahan said.

“You’re not going to do a bunch of tackling drills in practice,” Shanahan said. “That’s not very smart. You’ve got to do it on game day, but to me, when you’re struggling at tackling it means you need 11 guys swarming to the ball, so you don’t put a single guy in space by himself. And the faster you can get more people there the less pressure you put on one guy.”

49ers consider Josh Gordon

General manager John Lynch made a phone to the Cleveland Browns to discuss the availability of wide receiver Josh Gordon, Lynch said Sunday before the game. The Browns have stated their intention to release Gordon on Monday.

Shanahan certainly knows all about the good and the bad of Gordon, who has been among the least reliable players in the league. Gordon has been the subject of multiple NFL suspensions, appearing in only 11 games since rolling up 1,600 receiving yards during the 2013 season.

Shanahan has repeatedly stated that he likes the 49ers’ group of wide receivers, but he kept the door open to add a player.

“I’m content with our whole team,” Shanahan said. “I love our whole team and the guys that we have. I always feel, since camp ended and we got our 53, we can win with the people we have.

“But anytime a player is available, which I don’t know if he is or not. If he isn’t, I’m not allowed to comment. But my same answer . . . we will look into every situation to always try to upgrade our team no matter what the case is. But to answer your question, am I happy with what we have? Of course I am.”

This ‘n’ that

Through the first two games, defensive lineman DeForest Buckner has 3 ½ of the 49ers’ five sacks. Only two other 49ers players have recorded more sacks through two games since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. Jeff Stover (1986) and Bryant Young (2007) had four sacks in Weeks 1 and 2. On Sunday, the 49ers sacked Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford twice for minus-18 yards. “I think we have some stuff we need to work on,” Buckner said. “I feel like some guys were winning their one-on-ones, Stafford was just getting the ball out quick. Up front, we’ve got to do a little better job containing the quarterback and getting a hand in his face.” . . . Safety Jaquiski Tartt sustained a shoulder injury late in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Antone Exum for the 49ers’ final six defensive plays of the game. . . Kicker Robbie Gould set the franchise record with his 27th, 28th and 29th consecutive made field-goal attempt on Sunday. Phil Dawson previously held the 49ers record with 27 consecutive made kicks in 2013. Gould has made at least one field goal in 22 consecutive games, a streak that began on Dec. 11, 2016, while with the New York Giants. . . Rookie D.J. Reed’s apparent 101-yard kickoff return to open the second half was negated due to his own facemask penalty on a stiff arm. But he was still credited with a 90-yard return. It was the longest kickoff return for a 49ers player since Kyle Williams had a 94-yard return on Sept. 23, 2012 at Minnesota.

Fewer snaps works out to more production for 49ers' rookie Deebo Samuel

Fewer snaps works out to more production for 49ers' rookie Deebo Samuel

SANTA CLARA – It was no reflection of what the 49ers think of rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel when coach Kyle Shanahan said after Week 1 he wanted him on the field for fewer plays.

Samuel played 59 of the 49ers’ 68 offensive snaps against Tampa Bay. He caught three passes for 17 yards.

In the 49ers’ 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Samuel played just 27 of the team’s 70 snaps. But his production increased significantly.

Samuel caught five of the seven passes quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw his way. The second-round draft pick from South Carolina accounted for 87 yards and a touchdown. Garoppolo likes what he has seen from the rookie.

“It’s moving in the right direction, especially when a guy ... he just has the right mindset on the field, you see it in the huddle, you see it in his eyes,” Garoppolo said. “The moment is not too big for him. So as a rookie, you’ve got to appreciate seeing that.

“He’s raw and has so much talent that we’ve got to bring out of him. He’s just moving in the right direction, so that’s the fun part.”

Samuel and Marquise Goodwin started the first two games for the 49ers. Dante Pettis and Goodwin shared the most playing time, with each playing 50 percent of the team’s snaps. Goodwin caught three passes for 77 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown. Pettis did not see a pass thrown his way, though he completed a 16-yard pass on a gadget play.

[RELATED: Chris Simms explains why unbeaten 49ers might be for real]

Pettis got off to a slow start in training camp and Shanahan repeatedly challenged him to show more urgency and step up his game. The former second-round pick said he feels good about the direction he is moving.

“I think I’m pretty much there,” Pettis said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “It’s hard to tell, obviously, in the games, but I think in practices I’m not where I need to be, but I’m on my way.”

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers left tackle Justin Skule, who will take over for injured six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley at the position in Sunday’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is just a rookie. But Skule already has a huge supporting cast to help him prepare. 

The 22-year-old is an unknown to most in the Niners fanbase. The rookie has quietly kept his head down since he was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the 49ers in April. Staley, who has vowed to help Skule adjust to his new responsibilities, has already made an impact on his replacement. 

“He’s been awesome since I’ve been here just taking me under his wing and giving me little tricks of the trade,” Skule said Wednesday of the veteran left tackle, who is out six to eight weeks after breaking his fibula in Week 2. “He’s done a phenomenal job just these past couple days giving me pointers just showing me how he goes through his process and everything like that. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.” 

Staley isn’t the only offensive lineman to offer Skule helpful advice. The rookie had to fill in for Staley in the 49ers' 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and Skule said Mike Person imparted some wisdom when the two shared the field at Paul Brown Stadium. 

“He’s like, ‘Take a deep breath it’s still just football,'" Skule recalled. "So, I think that’s something that I’m really going to focus on this week. It’s still the game of football. Just take a deep breath, and don’t let anything get too big for myself.” 

Skule apparently has taken that advice to heart during his first week of practice as the team's starter.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t notice the nerves that were brewing in his newly appointed left tackle. Garoppolo that Skule appeared unfazed when he first filled in for Staley and has been the same ever since. 

“He’s been very consistent,” Garoppolo said. “Smart guy, came into the huddle during the game, didn’t blink or anything. Just one of those guys, he does the right thing and he’s in the right spot. He’s been the same guy every day, and you’ve got to appreciate that.”

[RELATED: Chris Simms explains why unbeaten 49ers might be for real]

Thus far, Skule has taken it all in stride. Even with more than 20 media members surrounding him in front of his locker for the first time in his pro career, Skule seemed calm and deliberate. The rookie didn’t hesitate when answering any questions, and his replies seemed genuine. 

Still, Skule knows that even though he feels calm now, the nerves undoubtedly will come before his first start Sunday at Levi's Stadium. 

“No matter who you are replacing, you’re going to go in with some nerves,” Skule said. “Everyone has that competitive edge where you’re going to be nervous when you’re going in. The older guys and everyone in the huddle have just done a great job taking me under their wing and just making sure I’m good and relaxed and ready to go.”