Nov 26, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Reuben Foster (56) before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
The more football you watch, the more patterns you see in the game. The more patterns you see in the game, the more you realize how truly special the players that break those patterns are. The players that can make plays that few – or sometimes no – other players can make are the true game-changers in the league. Even though he’s only has played 553 snaps in his career up to this point, it’s already abundantly clear that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster is one of those players.
In a day and age where Cover-3 is played on almost a third of all defensive snaps (or 41.8 percent in the 49ers case last year), defensive coordinators have to get creative in how they defend the seams. With three deep zones covered, as you’ll see in the image below, there exists two sizable gaps up the middle of the field that offenses can exploit.
There are a handful of tweaks a defensive coordinator can make schematically to bland Cover-3 to deal with these weak spots, but by far the most preferable is to simply have linebackers that can move and cover ground like a defensive back.
Enter the 49ers first-round pick from a season ago.
Foster showed a penchant for playmaking well beyond his years as a rookie. In his first preseason game of 2018, that was once again on display. In fact, Foster made a play so rare, that I’m writing an entire article about it. Right at the end of the first quarter, the former Alabama linebacker broke up a deep crosser off…