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49ers coach confirms first-round pick earned starting linebacker role

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Kyle Shanahan speaks with John York on Wednesday at training camp. Shanahan is taking a deliberate approach to rebuilding the 49ers. (Jacob C. Palmer/S.F. Examiner)

Reuben Foster has been impressive throughout 49ers camp.

Before he entered the NFL, some scouts wondered if he could stay healthy, let alone effectively defend the pass.

The first-round pick out of Alabama has been able to do both through the early weeks of the 2017 season. And head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed on Tuesday that Foster has earned a starting role.

But, as most coaches in the league will remind you, nothing is written in stone when it comes to a young player’s standing on the depth chart.

“[Foster] could get beat out at any time,” Shanahan reminded. “If our guys behind him, we’ve got some good players behind him too, if they started performing at a higher level than him, then that wouldn’t be the case.”

Foster had two tackles in the 49ers’ only preseason game.

Mike shanahan phones it in

Kyle Shanahan is the son of an NFL legend, Mike Shanhan, who was the offensive coordinator of the Niners from 1992-94.

The elder Shanahan has yet to make an appearance at training camp in Santa Clara. But Kyle told reporters on Tuesday to not read too much into that fact.

“If he ever wants to come out and he enjoys it and I enjoy having him here, [he’s welcome],” Kyle said. “If not, it’s whatever.”

Thanks to technology, the pair are able to share strategy ideas and stay in touch with each other in ways that would’ve never been possible when Mike was winning Super Bowls in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Kyle recalled a play in the 49ers’ first preseason game when he should’ve called a timeout instead of hurrying up.

“I knew I was going to get a text about that very fast,” he joked.

Lynch health update

Aaron Lynch (ankle) is day-to-day and will be doubtful for the Niners’ game against the Denver Broncos on Saturday.


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