Examining the Upside of 49ers Running Back Brandon Jacobs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Brandon Jacobs #27 of the New York Giants runs with the ball San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


A surprising number of 49ers fans weren't excited to hear that their team had signed former New York Giant running back Brandon Jacobs. It was either because of him being an alleged headcase or the fact that he is almost 30-years-old, or even the fact that he's an ex-Giant. The reasons ranged far and wide, but as the optimist here, I'd like to discuss some reasons on why this might be a good thing.

1. One-Year Deal

Above all, 49ers faithful can exhale -- Jacobs is only signed on for one year. Like Randy Moss' deal, this is likely not a bank breaking deal and the 49ers should be able to cut ties anytime if need be. And with these new short term contract additions, San Francisco could be gearing up for a serious charge at the Lombardi Trophy in 2012.

2. Adds Competition

I really like Anthony "Boobie" Dixon, and believe he's been a great locker room guy, a great team guy and a hard worker. However, there were points during the season where the run game just looked lifeless, and it would've been great if he had the thunder to spark it. I think Jacobs does.

When Frank Gore was tired, and it was a third and short situation that didn't call for a change of pace back like Kendall Hunter, Dixon wasn't really Mr. Reliable. And San Francisco let go of Blake Costanzo who did even more for the 49ers, so I could see them being harsher on Dixon when re-evaluating the team.

3. Excels in Power Run Offense

When Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke acquire players, they acquire guys who fit what system they run. The 49ers like to run the power run offense; an offensive scheme Jacobs became familiar with in New York. And even though the 29-year-old tailback recorded a career-low in yards last season, he scored 7 touchdowns while playing back up to Ahmad Bradshaw.

4. Has Chip on His Shoulder

Jacobs clearly wanted to return to the Giants but they couldn't work anything out. The 49ers will play the Giants in 2012 when Jacobs will be wearing red and gold, but he won't be alone. His former Giants teammate Mario Manningham also signed a deal with San Francisco. I would be willing to bet that Jacobs is looking forward to that game quite a bit.

He also plays angry. Jacobs has always been a guy who runs with a chip on his shoulder, and that is exactly the kind of mentality the 49ers have played with over the years.

5. Red Zone, Third Down, Pass Block Issues

The Niners evidently had issues on offense pertaining to the red zone, third down conversion and in protection. The acquisition of Jacobs could improve all three categories simultaneously. The goal line and other red zone situations, Jacobs could be of use in pass protection or taking a hand off.

I also really like the combination of Bruce Miller and Jacobs; I can't see too many defensive backs willing to step in front of that train. On third down situations, Jacobs with a fresh set of legs could come in handy, and once again, that could be for running or blocking.

Jacobs also adds more playoff experience to the team, even a good level of Super Bowl experience. If the 49ers wind up playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl, we might be glad we have Jacobs.

With this signing, Harbaugh has notably added three free agents with past character issues. This move irks a lot of folks, even the combination of moves bothers some people but Harbaugh is one of the better motivators and head coaches I've seen in some time.

I believe he's established a team that's a known contender, and the players love him; they want to play for him. He knows what buttons to push on people and he doesn't take grief, so if you're not with the program, you're gone. If all these additions reach their potential with the team, San Francisco could be extremely scary.

Follow me on Twitter: @DeSimone80

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