A few days back, while chatting with the media, Brandon Jacobs mentioned that he had slimmed down from 275 pounds to 260 pounds. That's still a whole lot of running back, but for Jacobs, it sounds like his decision to lose some weight while adding muscle in his thighs might be paying early dividends. In a quick mailbag entry, Matt Maiocco indicated that he thought Jacobs was not only doing enough to earn a roster spot, but also a potentially significant backup role.
Last year the 49ers seemed to find a solid backup to Frank Gore when they drafted Kendall Hunter. He put together a solid rookie season and handled the ball more than any other previous Gore backup. The 49ers continued to build their backfield by signing Jacobs and drafting LaMichael James. Anthony Dixon has reportedly been working hard this offseason, but the amount of competition behind Gore likely will be too much for his roster chances.
Jacobs was all sorts of positive when talking about his current status with the media:
"I feel faster, I feel stronger, I feel like I'm playing with better leverage," Jacobs said today. "My pads are down lower. Balance is better. I'm really looking forward to these preseason games we've got coming up here."
I posted some of that on Twitter and Giants fans were quick to state that Jacobs was telling the media what they wanted to hear. This Friday we'll likely get a fairly extensive look at Jacobs. Frank Gore will get a limited number of carries. Kendall Hunter will get some carries, but I have to think the team might look to get more touches for LaMichael James, Brandon Jacobs and Anthony Dixon.
While James is a lock to make the roster, the team will be looking to figure out exactly what they have in the former Oregon star. Jacobs will need to show he can handle the power game and not revert to his dancing ways. As for Dixon? Well, he needs to put together some pretty significant performances to earn a roster spot. We've talked about the depth at wide receiver, but the 49ers running backs provide plenty to watch deep into preseason games.