First look at Reuben Foster: Running drills, flashing smiles at 49ers OTAs
Reuben Foster isn't the only 49ers inside linebacker making a comeback of sorts this spring. Brock Coyle, who started next to Foster in the stretch run of the 2017 season, was on the field during warmups on Wednesday as he recovers from offseason labrum surgery. Neither player went through a full practice — Foster is being eased in after a month away from the team — but both are expected to be at full strength for training camp. The same goes for the team as a whole: Though a number of players are dealing with minor issues or are recovering from offseason procedures, none of the current injuries is expected to bleed into training camp, which begins in late July.
* Foster warmed up with teammates, did some individual bag drills with strength coach Ray Wright, then worked out with Wright on a side field. He also stopped to chat with Hall of Famer Charles Haley, who was on hand to watch practice. Foster and Wright then spent the rest of practice working on his conditioning. After practice defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said that Foster, whose domestic violence case was dismissed last week, arrived at team headquarters in good shape but that coaches didn't want to throw him into practices right away.
* With Foster and Coyle out, the 49ers' top inside linebackers Wednesday were Malcolm Smith at the "Mike" spot and Elijah Lee at "Will." That's different from last week when Korey Toomer and Smith were the first-string linebackers and shows the 49ers are mixing and matching different players at the position with every practice. Toomer (Will) and good-looking rookie Fred Warner (Mike) made up the second-team group on Wednesday.
* The 49ers also had a different first-string right guard on Wednesday. While Joshua Garnett was in that spot last week, Mike Person was working with the first-team group on Wednesday, relegating Garnett to the the second-team line. Jonathan Cooper, who continues to recover from offseason knee surgery, is expected to compete at right guard beginning in July.
* Jimmie Ward had an up-and-down outing at cornerback, starting with the initial 11-on-11 situation when Jimmy Garoppolo hit wide receiver Kendrick Bourne on a deep, 40-yard pass over Ward. Ward also was victimized in seven-on-seven drills on a pass from Garoppolo — he was hot during the session — to tight end Garrett Celek. In a later 11-on-11 situation, Marquise Goodwin seemed to have a step on Ward, but Garoppolo's deep ball was well short and got hung up in the wind. Goodwin had to come back to prevent Ward from intercepting it. Ward also had a nice pass break up in the back of the end zone on a seven-on-seven pass from Garoppolo to Pierre Garcon.
* There was a lot of wrist tapping and watch pointing during seven-on-seven drills. That, of course, signaled that it was "Celek Time" again as Celek, the team's top tight end from last season, hooked up several times with Garoppolo. The quarterback also had touchdown passes to Bourne, tight end George Kittle, receiver Aaron Burbridge and running back Matt Breida during the session. Breida was the de facto starting running back on Wednesday as Jerick McKinnon was present but did not take any snaps when practice began. It's not known why McKinnon did not participate, but the reason does not appear serious.
* Receiver Trent Taylor (back) sat out practice just as he did last week. Who played slot receiver in his absence? A lot of players. Burbridge, Victor Bolden Jr., Aldrick Robinson, Richie James and Dante Pettis all lined up there at various points. Burbridge had a nice, diving touchdown catch from Garoppolo but also dropped a would-be touchdown a couple of minutes later.
* Arik Armstead said he's about 290 pounds this offseason as he moves from 'Leo' defensive end last year to 'big end' on the other side of the formation this year. He was about 280 pounds at this point last season.
* The 49ers are trying to figure out their best pass-rushing configurations this year as they look to boost their 26th-ranked sack total from a year ago. The two edge rushers who seem to get the most snaps together on obvious passing downs are Cassius Marsh and Jeremiah Attaochu.
* With strong safeties Chanceller James (knee), Marcell Harris (Achilles) and Don Jones (unknown) not practicing this spring, the 49ers don't have a lot of depth behind starter Jaquiski Tartt. Undrafted Terrell Williams Jr. from the University of Houston worked with the second team today and even took a few snaps with the would-be starters. He's got intriguing size at 6-4, 212 pounds and wears a number — 6 — that also makes him stick out. Williams had an interception on Wednesday off of a tipped pass from C.J. Beathard.
* The other injured players who didn't practice Wednesday were cornerback Richard Sherman, receiver Max McCaffrey, running back Jeremy McNichols and tackle Darrell Williams Jr.