Xavier Cooper isn’t exactly familiar with the 49ers defense, but he knows a lot of the defenders.
Cooper, whom the 49ers claimed off of waivers this week, was one of the linemen who trained alongside Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett in Hawaii during the summer. The group also included the 49ers’ Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Eli Harold and Ronald Blair.
“It kind of felt I was home when I came here,” Cooper said.
Cooper said he’s in the midst of a cram session to get up to speed with the playbook – or at least the game plan – before Sunday’s game against Carolina. He will back up Buckner at defensive tackle where the key trait is explosion off the line of scrimmage.
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“Pretty good run defender, and he’s got some quick twitch off the ball,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said Thursday. “So he’s got that penetrating feel that we like for a three technique. We feel like he’d be a really good complement to Buckner.”
Cooper spent his first two seasons with the Browns. Though Cleveland has long been a league punching bag, he said the organization was doing its best to break free of its long funk. He did note, however, a significant difference when he first arrived at 49ers headquarters this week.
“Walking into the building and having those five Lombardi trophies is a different feeling than being in Ohio,” Cooper said. “They’re trying to build something and get some Lombardi trophies. But when you step in here, there’s nothing but motivation.”
Et cetera – For the second straight day, both tight end George Kittle and safety Jimmie Ward were limited with hamstring injuries. Kittle seemed more likely to play Sunday than Ward, who has yet to go through a full practice since his injury in late July.
▪ Defensive end Aaron Lynch (back) also was limited for the second straight day. If he can’t play, draft pick Pita Taumoepenu likely would step into his role as backup defensive end.
▪ Practice squad linebacker Ben Boulware said his practice repetitions were “very limited” in Carolina, which cut the former Clemson star last week. “Obviously it wasn’t the right situation, so hopefully I can change that label around here in San Francisco,” he said.