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y2lamanaki

Training Camp Battle - WLB

The Battle at WLB  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. Who wins the WLB job?

    • Ray-Ray Armstrong
      0
    • Reuben Foster
    • Malcolm Smith
    • Other (Please let us know in a reply!)
      0
  2. 2. Does Ray-Ray Armstrong make the team?



25 posts in this topic

y2lamanaki    21

Next stop on the battles list is the WLB spot - or who gets to start next to Navorro Bowman. 

Ray-Ray Armstrong

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Why am I starting with Armstrong? I've actually been listing guys alphabetically, and it just seemed to coincidentally go in realistic orders in the last two battle threads. Armstrong really has VERY little chance of winning this job. He's a holdover from the last regime going up against the biggest free agent contract given out and a first round draft pick the team had as their #3 overall player on the board. Those are some long odds. To top that off, Armstrong's career of really solid play came in a game and a half last season, which is hardly enough from which to extrapolate anything meaningful. Still, as the former starter, he'll at least get some cursory looks as someone who might need to stick around. His chances of winning that starting job seem to revolve around Foster's shoulder causing him to miss significant time, and Malcolm Smith to perform extremely poorly in the preseason while Armstrong returning to that brief solid play to open 2016.

 

Reuben Foster

r212756_576x324_16-9.jpg

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest things that happened to the 49ers in this past draft was Reuben Foster taking a big fall in the draft and lasting long enough for the team to make a minor trade up to select their #3 player on their board. Before rumors of the shoulder injury, Foster was talked about as a legitimate possibility for the team at #2 overall, which is insane for an ILB. He's earned comparisons to Patrick Willis, and could help to restore the unbelievable linebacker corps we had in the Harbaugh era. It's a matter of when, not if, Foster gets his chance to play. The one limitation might be his health, and the team can afford to take it easy as they are not expected to compete this year and they have some other guys who can cover his spot for now.

 

Malcolm Smith

20151215__smithraiders1.jpg?w=525

Smith has a few major things going for him - the current regime liked him enough to give him a pretty oversized contract in free agency, he has the most NFL experience of anyone in this competition, he's very experienced specifically in the defensive scheme in which we'll be running, and his most likely competitor for the job - Reuben Foster - has the double whammy of a lingering injury and one that kept him out of all the team work in the offseason. This gives Smith all sorts of a head start on the job. That said, after some great play on a stacked Seahawks team, he was very underwhelming these past two years and should be easily outplayed by a prospect the level of Foster - should Foster be healthy enough to go. 

 

Nobody else really fits the bill for WLB, but a couple of guys who might get a look to add to their versatility would be free agent pickup Brock Coyle and undrafted rookies Jimmie Gilbert and Donavin Newsom. 

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48 1/2ers    5

I see no reason why Foster isn't starting right out of the gates this season. I'm trying to think back if there were any discussions about ol' numba 52 not starting but I dont think anyone even blinked. 

I understand the shoulder speculation that caused him to fall could be a factor to play him less but not starting and playing less dont necessarily have to match up. Much like the point I made in the LEO topic, I think offensive personnel is going to play a key part in who plays. Malcom Smith might be an ideal rotation guy who comes in for Brooks/Bow in passing situations or 11/10 man sets. 

The only thing that I can see holding Foster back is if he struggles digesting the complexity of the defense which I have no idea about because we've never seen a Saleh run defense. But Saleh had no trouble throwing Myles Jack in the fire early and he's an inferior player to Foster plus had more injury concerns. I'm sure i'll bring this up when we have later discussions but I think in the future IF we find that Malcom Smith is worth his deal, Bowman plays the SAM, Foster plays MIKE and Smith sticks as our full time WILL. 

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J-ALL-DAY    16

Lynch seemed very impressed with Smith and he did sign a fairly solid contract. So I think he may be the starter week 1.

Is Foster going to be ready to go from day one of camp? I haven't really heard anything on that.

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y2lamanaki    21
1 hour ago, J-ALL-DAY said:

Lynch seemed very impressed with Smith and he did sign a fairly solid contract. So I think he may be the starter week 1.

Is Foster going to be ready to go from day one of camp? I haven't really heard anything on that.

This is the way I'm leaning on this one as well. I get @48 1/2ers' point about there never being a question about Patrick Willis, but that was because we had two ILB jobs, and our other options were over-the-hill Derek Smith with a bad eye (who still won the other spot) and a past his prime Jeff Ulbrich. Not quite the same thing going on this year, and he definitely doesn't have the same draft pedigree as Willis (#11 vs. #31). That doesn't mean a whole lot, but it's something. 

I think Foster will definitely get his playing time, and he'll be starting sooner rather than later. But I definitely think Smith will have the head start. 

But I definitely like the idea of having a Smith, Foster, Bowman LB corps if Smith/Foster are playing extremely well. 

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Fureys49ers    8

I voted Ray Ray not being apart of the team after the multitude of new blood the Lynch/Shanahan regime brought in and Armstrong being a holdover from last year. Between Smith, Foster, Brock, Watson there's just too many bodies and not enough spots. I really don't want to see Smith on the field too much however so here's to hoping that Foster is healthy and becomes all that he is expected to become for many years for our defense.

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48 1/2ers    5
9 hours ago, Fureys49ers said:

I voted Ray Ray not being apart of the team after the multitude of new blood the Lynch/Shanahan regime brought in and Armstrong being a holdover from last year. Between Smith, Foster, Brock, Watson there's just too many bodies and not enough spots. I really don't want to see Smith on the field too much however so here's to hoping that Foster is healthy and becomes all that he is expected to become for many years for our defense.

Between Armstrong, Brock, and Watson I like Ray Ray the most. But I'm pretty biased to guys with dreads like my boy Zak Keasey. 

Zak-Keasey-long-hair-dreadlocks-hairstyl

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y2lamanaki    21
On 7/23/2017 at 10:35 AM, 48 1/2ers said:

Between Armstrong, Brock, and Watson I like Ray Ray the most. But I'm pretty biased to guys with dreads like my boy Zak Keasey. 

Zak-Keasey-long-hair-dreadlocks-hairstyl

Poor Zak Keasy. I think there was someone on our forum that had an irrational hatred for the guy. 

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Forge    36

Still think that we should have given Tartt a shot at WILL. Barring any injuries, Foster should be a lock to start with Smith coming in on some passing downs (and Foster possibly sliding over and Bowman coming out). Ray Ray I think doesn't make the roster. Watson is a special team stud, so he has some actual on the field value that I think the team will prefer to have. 

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J-ALL-DAY    16

So Foster is a full go for camp. Great news. In that case, he finds a way to crack the starting line up some how some way.

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Forge    36
52 minutes ago, J-ALL-DAY said:

So Foster is a full go for camp. Great news. In that case, he finds a way to crack the starting line up some how some way.

If he doesn't, I think it's a horrible sign for his future. i know that sounds harsh, but I'm older and more bitter and harsh now. But seriously, linebacker is easily one of the easier positions to transition from college to the NFL at in my opinion. If you have the talent, you have it from the start and it should carry over. You don't seem to have to worry about the other stuff as much (unless you're quarterbacking the defense)

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J-ALL-DAY    16

If he doesn't start, then it will be either than Smith is continuing his good play from mini camp. Rookie LBs have a better chance to start from day one than pretty much any position, but I wouldn't say it is a horrible sign for his future. Bowman didn't start either. Granted, we had Willis and then a proven ILB in Spikes so it was harder for him to win a starting spot. 

I'm just happy he will be a full go in camp. I thought he would be brought in slowly but that doesn't look to be the case.

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48 1/2ers    5

So pumped to see Foster is all clear. I'm with @Forge, if he doesn't start that's a bad sign but for our teams future. We need to give chances to young guys and not look at the $ that each player has on his checks. 

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y2lamanaki    21
1 minute ago, 48 1/2ers said:

So pumped to see Foster is all clear. I'm with @Forge, if he doesn't start that's a bad sign but for our teams future. We need to give chances to young guys and not look at the $ that each player has on his checks. 

I'm close to that position, but I would still not be surprised if Malcolm Smith is not the starter out of the preseason (especially with great preseason play). If Foster doesn't claim a starting spot for the majority of the season, I'll be surprised, and would agree it's a bad sign (cannot remember a high-pedigree linebacker that did not start the majority of their rookie season and still become successful). But Week 1 - I still think Malcolm Smith has a large head start and would not be surprised to see him starting. 

I also would not be surprised if both Smith and Foster end up starting for one reason or another. 

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J-ALL-DAY    16

So Foster was working mainly with the 3rd string and some 2nd string. Not surprising since he's been held out of all team activities in the offseason. But it may be hard for him to jump all the way up to 1st team if Smith has even decent of a camp/preseason.

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49erurtaza    0
50 minutes ago, J-ALL-DAY said:

So Foster was working mainly with the 3rd string and some 2nd string. Not surprising since he's been held out of all team activities in the offseason. But it may be hard for him to jump all the way up to 1st team if Smith has even decent of a camp/preseason.

im sure he will start off behind smith but the more he gets on the field the more he will outshine smith.

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