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Linebacker Marcus Rush turned the heads of a lot of San Francisco 49ers fans during preseason. During the preseason, he was a standout pass rusher and recorded six sacks against opposing quarterbacks, which not only led the team but led the NFL. When it came time to make the team's final cuts, Rush was one of numerous roster casualties. Surprisingly, he remained available and was signed to the team's practice squad where he has remained all season.
Those that saw what Rush could do have been hoping to see the youngster get a shot on the active roster. In the past, defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil even said that he would be surprised if Rush remained on the practice squad all season. The topic of possibly activating Rush came up today during O'Neil's weekly press conference with the media.
O'Neil was asked if he would go talk to general manager Trent Baalke about possibly activating Rush. After all, at 1-9, the team's season is over and it would be nice to see if the 49ers have anything in the young linebacker. "No," O'Neil answered. "I don't get involved in those conversations. If my opinion is asked, I give it."
So O'Neil was asked about his opinion of Rush. "He does a great job in practice every day," he said. "He usually mimics the team's best defensive end or pass rusher and he gives our offensive guys a great look."
The knock on Rush was his run support skills. While he was a solid pass rusher and ranked at the top by Pro Football Focus, his ability against the run was a big weakness that needed to still be developed. That could explain why another team has not yet claimed him and why the 49ers hesitate to activate him. The team's run defense currently ranks last in the league.