GLENDALE AZ - NOVEMBER 29: Runningback Anthony Dixon #1 of the San Francisco 49ers dives into the endzone to score on a 1 yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 29 2010 in Glendale Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
We've spent time this week discussing the 49ers offensive plans now that Frank Gore is finished for the season but we haven't gotten into a ton of specifics about the players involved. We know what Brian Westbrook brings to the table for the most part, and we've heard the team discuss how they want to try and limit his touches given his injuries concern. He sat out Wednesday and Thursday's practices and then was a full participant yesterday. It seems likely that those days off were just to keep him fresh for Sunday.
Given all this discussion, I'm curious what people see happening on the field tomorrow. Over at Rotoworld, they seem to think he's looking at approximately 18 touches this Sunday. If that's the case, that leaves anywhere from 5-10 touches for Anthony Dixon. This past week the team got 23 touches from Westbrook and 15 (one reception) from Dixon. Of course, the 49ers absolutely rolled over the Cardinals on the ground. If the 49ers capture an early lead we could see similar rushing numbers, but if the team falls behind, all bets are off.
Given the nature of tomorrow's game it's hard to make predictions. It seems fairly certain that no matter what happens Anthony Dixon will get a decent amount of carries each game. He received a sizable chunk last Monday, even as Westbrook carried the ball so frequently. If the team cuts back, that can only benefit Dixon.
As we move through the remainder of the season, will Brian Westbrook continue getting the majority of the carries, or will Anthony Dixon establish himself as a better alternative? Or do you see Dixon filling the goal line and short yardage role while Westbrook is the primary back? Basically I'm wondering whether Dixon is the kind of talent that could establish himself as a primary rushing weapon in this, his rookie season or if he'll really get the opportunity?