The beat writers chatted with some of the 49ers players earlier today, including Frank Gore who said his right ankle is feeling better than at this point last week. He intends to practice this afternoon and it seems that he will be good to go this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He came off the bench last week, but if he practices this week my guess is he would get the start over Kendall Hunter this week.
The question then is how active will Hunter be in the offense? It has only been two significant games of action for Hunter, but he is looking more and more like a playmaker that will benefit the offense no matter what the role of Frank Gore. Against the Eagles, Hunter rushed nine times for 38 yards and also had two receptions for 62 yards. The week before, Hunter finished with nine rushes for 26 yards and two receptions for 12 yards. The Bengals performance wasn't spectacular but he had some big conversions for the team.
Football Outsiders puts together a look at how teams defend against specific players in the passing game, including wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. The Bucs are 28th in defending against running backs. It seems like Hunter could become a very solid weapon in that passing game. He's not a guy who has broken deep for pass plays, but rather is an underneath option that can do good work getting plenty of yards after the catch. While he may not stretch out defenses, he is developing into a guy that absolutely have to watch in the passing game. Maybe that will be enough to consistently open up deeper stuff for the wide receivers and tight ends.