Kyle Shanahan discusses Reuben Foster, NaVorro Bowman as OTAs kick off

May 23, 2017 at 2:51 PM--

Numerous reporters said that the San Francisco 49ers defense outshined the team's offense during practice on Tuesday. Of course, it was just the second of ten practices during the 49ers' organized team activities that will last until June 9th. The team is learning a new system and the goal right now for the coaching staff is to teach that system.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked if the defense was already ahead of the offense. "I think it's two teams learning a bunch," he answered. "I would say, without watching the film, that they had a better day today. I thought it was pretty close yesterday but I wouldn't say either one's ahead."

What are the goals of these OTA practices? Shanahan said that the first was to ensure that there are no injuries. "And then just teaching everyone. Just from a coaching staff, you look forward to this because you're able to go on the field with them in the first minicamp, which is a voluntary one. But only new coaches are allowed that. You go on the field with guys and you haven't worked enough to judge them too much."

Shanahan discussed rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who is recovering from shoulder surgery following Alabama's 2016 season. Since Foster is unable to participate in practices, Shanahan was asked what the team has him doing.

"We've allowed him to participate in anything where there's no possibility of contact," Shanahan said. "So if he's doing any of the individual drills and not going against people, then he's able to do everything because he can run and do it all. We got to be able to avoid collisions right now.

"He's trying to stay locked in. I know it's hard for him. He wants to run around out there but he can't do it. We got to be smart with it. We can't set him back."

There had been a report that the 49ers were possibly shopping linebacker NaVorro Bowman. The 49ers immediately denied the report. Shanahan explained on Tuesday that the 49ers have had no discussions with other NFL teams on trading Bowman. The linebacker spoke with general manager John Lynch about the issue and that was it. Shanahan has not had to discuss the matter with Bowman.

Shanahan said that the only trade discussions that the 49ers have been involved in were when another team asked about tight end Vance McDonald during the draft.

In October, Bowman suffered a torn Achilles in a game against the Dallas Cowboys. He ended up on the team's injured reserve list. The injury came nearly 13 months after Bowman's return to the football field from ACL and MCL tears. Bowman has been a full participant in the 49ers' offseason program so Shanahan has already gotten a good look at him.

"From what I've seen just watching him, I would have never known that [he was coming off the injury] just by watching him," Shanahan said. "He looks like the guy I've seen on tape over the years."

What did Bowman think about the 49ers drafting Foster in April?

"I remember after we drafted Reuben, out of respect to Bo, I gave him a call that night and asked him to come and talk to me," Shanahan said. "Bo's like, 'Coach, I'm good. I'm out golfing. It's no problem. I'll see you at work.' He ended up coming in. Bo got it. He wasn't too worried about it and so he made it very easy."

Bowman is currently competing with Foster and Malcolm Smith for snaps during practices.

Shanahan said that the coaching staff has to balance the work that someone like Bowman puts in while coming off of an injury because he is so competitive. "We've got to protect them from themselves at times," Shanahan said. "We'll look at that as OTAs go."

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