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Seven 49ers player updates from Robert Saleh during OTAs

May 31, 2017 at 4:05 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers have completed five of their 10 allowed organized team activities (OTAs) practices. The players will not practice on Thursday and will hit the field again on Friday before breaking for the weekend.

On Wednesday, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh met with the media and provided some player updates.

Arik Armstead

Saleh has been taking a look at 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead at the team's LEO spot – the position typically held by the team's best pass rusher. How has Armstead looked at the position?

"He moves well," Saleh said. "The concern was that he's so big and he doesn't exactly fit the prototype, but he's so athletic. He's so long and he's got a good first step. He just needs to get more comfortable in the things that we're asking him to do physically."

Saleh went on to say that Armstead looks lean and in amazing shape this offseason.

Rashard Robinson

Cornerback Rashard Robinson is entering his second season with the 49ers, who selected him in the fourth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He is working to prove that he has what it takes to grab and hold onto the defense's top cornerback spot.

What does Saleh think of Robinson so far? "He's a dog," he said. "I like him. He's made of the right stuff, his attitude, his mindset is unique for a corner."

"He does not want to get beat," Saleh continued. "Every rep is so important to him. He doesn't care who he's going against. It's a tremendous mindset when you get a guy like Rashard who is so focused on what he's capable of and about him and how he's going to win and the man in front of him has no bearing on what he's about to do."

Eric Reid

With five years of experience, safety Eric Reid is currently the 49ers' most seasoned veteran among the defensive backs.

"Eric is unbelievable from a mental standpoint," Saleh said when asked about what he has seen out of Reid. "He's very smart, able to absorb a lot of information. He's very long, very athletic. He's strong. He's capable of doing a lot of things down there in the box. I'm excited about Eric and what he's capable of."

Jaquiski Tartt

Saleh was asked the same thing about third-year safety Jaquiski Tartt. Over the past two seasons, Tartt has started 14 games in 30 appearances. He had 126 tackles, three sacks, six passes defensed, an interception, and a forced fumble in his two NFL seasons.

"You'll see him," Saleh said. "He's playing a little bit of the third. He's kind of, I don't want to say tweener, that would be a bad word, but his strong point is whatever you decide to make it, I guess. JT is very gifted also. We're very fortunate at that strong safety position to have two guys like JT and Eric Reid who are both capable of playing at a high level."

Reuben Foster

Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster has been limited in practices as he recovers from shoulder surgery following Alabama's 2016 season. He has participated in individual drills but has been held out of anything that requires contact with other players on the practice field.

"He goes through all of his meetings," Saleh said. "He's very smart. He's absorbing all of the information that we're giving to him, going through whatever walk-thrus we have. He's just not physically cleared to have one-on-one contact so he goes through all of the individual drills and then after practice, he's working with [head strength & conditioning coach] Ray Wright to get the conditioning part of it."

Saleh went on to say that he was not sure when Foster would be able to fully participate in practices.

Aaron Lynch

There have been reports that linebacker Aaron Lynch, who was once considered one of the top pass rushers in the NFL, is overweight. Lynch is working to get down to a weight between 260 and 270. The linebacker said last week that he is currently in the 280-pound range.

"Aaron is working his tail off," Saleh said. "I've been impressed with the way he's come out and approached his job. He's doing everything he can to get to a spot where he's well-conditioned and where he can perform at a high level. I'm excited to see, as we go it'll be exciting to see him work even more in that month we get off to come back for training camp to be where he wants to be."

Pita Taumoepenu

Rookie linebacker Pita Taumoepenu figures to work in as a pass rusher at some point. Saleh was asked how the former Utah Ute has acclimated into the defensive coordinator's scheme.

"Pita's good," Saleh said. "He's absorbing the information really well also. His game is going to be speed. I don't want to say he's undersized, but he is a smaller guy. And so, he's got to find a way to utilize that speed and that strength of his to shine. He shows that he's strong enough to do the things that we're asking him to do but it's so early. It will be interesting to see how it all transitions once we get pads on. But, Pita, he's another one of those guys who works so hard that it's almost impossible for a guy like him to fail."


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