49ers

Why eager Armstead believes Kelly turns 49ers around in 2016

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Why eager Armstead believes Kelly turns 49ers around in 2016

Is Chip Kelly the coach that can return the 49ers to prominence?

One of his former players he's reunited with in San Francisco strongly believes so.

"Chip Kelly, having him as our coach, ya know, is a guy I know very well," defensive lineman Arik Armstead told Bleacher Report's 'Uninterrupted.' "Recruited me in high school. Sat in my home, got me to go up to Oregon.

"And him, [as well as] the rest of the staff, I know is going to get us on the right path."

[NFL DRAFT: NFL scouts' pre-draft analysis of 49ers greats]

Armstead, a 6-foot-7, 296-pound behemoth, was drafted No. 17 overall by the 49ers in the 2015 NFL Draft.

He settled in right away with a young, rebuilding San Francisco defense.

"We have a young, talented group with a bunch of guys eager and ready to play," Armstead added. "And I think next year we're going to do a lot better.

"Chip is a guy I know very well. Like I said, played for him in college. My freshman year, first game of my college career I remember him coming up to me in pre-game warm ups and asking me if I was ready to play. And being super nervous on the inside, I told him, 'Hell yeah, I'm ready.' But really I was super scared and nervous and he smiled and laughed. And that was a story I always remember about him."

Armstead appeared in 16 games as a rookie, recording 19 tackles and two sacks.

[MAIOCCO: 49ers must improve moribund pass rush]

Prior to becoming a first-round draft selection, he played three seasons at the University of Oregon, including one under Kelly.

Armstead left the Ducks with 87 career tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

"I think [Kelly] is going to get us on the right path," Armstead reiterated. "It's going to be a lot of hard work this year. But I think it's going to be beneficial to our team. The sky is the limit for us, really, it can't really get any worse than last season.

"It's going to be a big year. ...I'm real excited."

Armstead confessed that 2015, his first season as a pro, was a disappointment as a whole.

"Last year didn't go as planned," the defender commented. "5-11 is no way to represent the Bay Area. And that's not what being a 49er is all about. And I feel like we let the fans down, we let you guys down. Next year look forward to bringing a lot more excitement to the Bay Area, and to you guys.

"Next year is going to be a big year for me," Armstead said.

Why NFL Media's Peter Schrager believes Richard Sherman is underrated

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AP

Why NFL Media's Peter Schrager believes Richard Sherman is underrated

Richard Sherman's resume is as long as any other cornerback, but NFL analyst Peter Schrager believes the 49ers veteran is underrated. 

"I think Richard Sherman last year had a really good season," Schrager said on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Monday. "The Achilles didn't seem to bother him all that much. And then when it mattered most, [he] was shutting down the No. 1 wide receivers in the league, and that was with a completely depleted defense and an offense that had an undrafted rookie named Nick Mullens keeping them afloat. I think Richard Sherman [is] still underrated." 

Sherman started 14 games in his first season with San Francisco, defending a career-low four passes and intercepting zero passes for the first time in his career. Those low counting stats would be concerning for a defensive back's first season in their 30s, even excluding the season-ending Achilles injury he sustained in 2017, but Sherman's production wasn't the same as his best years with the Seattle Seahawks in large part because NFL offenses didn't seem to underrate him. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Sherman was targeted just once every 12.6 coverage snaps. No cornerback was avoided more than him, and Sherman also ranked first among corners in allowing a reception every 20.7 coverage snaps. In other words, opposing quarterbacks seemed to rate Sherman as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. 

[RELATED: 49ers have important conversations beginning during OTAs]

How long that continues is an open question. Sherman is entering his ninth year in the NFL and turned 31 in March. Twenty-eight defensive backs were 31 or older last NFL season, and only 12 of them were 32 or older. Sherman will be 33 if he finishes out the three-year deal he signed with the 49ers last year, and it seems likely he will be targeted more the older he gets. 

But until then, it's clear Sherman's opposition under center view him as one of the best cornerbacks in the league even if Schrager's punditry peers do not. 

Ex-49ers LB Reuben Foster reportedly suffers torn ACL, possible artery damage

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USATSI

Ex-49ers LB Reuben Foster reportedly suffers torn ACL, possible artery damage

Organized team activities began Monday for NFL teams, and Washington suffered a loss shortly after the opening of camp.

Former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster went down during the second play of OTAs with what appeared to be a serious left leg injury. He was on the ground for several minutes before being carted off while in tears.

After an receiving an MRI, Foster's injury appears to be very serious.

That's a brutal development for Foster and Washington.

[RELATED: 49ers have important competitions beginning during OTAs]

Foster was drafted by the 49ers with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, which was the beginning of a tumultuous time in the Bay Area.

The Alabama product was arrested three times and suffered multiple on-field injuries during his time with the 49ers. San Francisco cut ties with Foster last November after he was accused of committing domestic battery at a team hotel in Florida.

Washington claimed the linebacker off waivers a few days later. Foster recorded  84 solo tackles in his 16-game career with the 49ers.

The 49ers have since revamped their linebacking corps after Foster's departure. They signed Kwon Alexander to a four-year contract in the offseason and spent a fifth-round draft pick on Arkansas' Dre Greenlaw.

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch hope Alexander, once he gets fully healthy, and Greenlaw can fill the role left by Foster's departure in the middle of the defense.