So, since I've first started putting these posts together, the focal point has been the starters. What's your confidence level in Alex Smith? How about Frank Gore? Things of that nature. Spirits are high for 49ers fans, and the voting seemed to mediate around "Very High" and "High", and I truly believe that is for good reason. I like to think we're a smart bunch here, but we are, when it comes down to it, proudly biased.
I'm not going to shift the focus from the starters for a short while. How about a backup? How about a player whose backup position isn't even secure? How about HB Glen Coffee? Coffee is locked in a battle with sixth round pick Anthony Dixon for the primary backup role for Frank Gore. The loser of the battle isn't guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster, either. The team may feel like they can only take three, with special teams ace Michael Robinson being too valuable to let go.
So what then, are your thoughts? Coffee this past season is someone who is really hard to pinpoint. Was his poor performance (226 yards on 83 carries for a 2.7 average yards per carry with one touchdown) his fault, or the fault of circumstance? His first game where he gained significant playing time, he was going up against the Vikings. Yeeeah... His other two starts were against the underrated defense of the Rams and then the Falcons. At the time, his quarterback was Shaun Hill. Also at the time, everybody knew that the 49ers were going to try and run it, Frank Gore or no Frank Gore.
So he was behind one of the league's worst offensive lines with a quarterback who received zero respect from opposing defenses handing off to him in a system which proclaimed it was going to be a running system from day one. Can you really put so much on Glen Coffee?
Very High: Obviously we're not looking at 1000 yards here, not with Frank Gore in front of him. But we can assume all of the things from the lower tiers as in beating Anthony Dixon for the primary role and getting some looks earlier in games. Coffee takes carries away from Gore not necessarily to keep Gore fresh, but because Coffee is running hot. He'll take some touchdowns from Gore as well, on his way to a pretty good yardage total among some of the better backups.
High: He'll get some more carries from Gore to change things up and he'll play well. Even with the same amount of carries as last year (83), Coffee will get a much better average yards per carry than the 2.7 he was stuck with last year. He will have a couple good highlights, which is more than what you'd expect of your backup.
Medium: Coffee may or may not beat Anthony Dixon for the primary backup role, but does pull a better average than 2.7 per carry. When he does see the field, he is good enough to stay, is respected in the same vein that a DeShaun Foster is if he is the primary backup, and considered a decent number three option if he doesn't.
Low: Doesn't win the primary backup role and looks just as lost out there as he did in his rookie season. He'll have one good highlight, maybe two, in one solid performance but will ultimately be very inconsistent.
Very Low: Michael Robinson looks like a beast amongst boys out of the backfield in comparison.