Over the course of the last six weeks, Anthony Dixon went from a player we viewed as a likely cut, to apparently secure with a few days remaining. The 2010 sixth round pick hurled himself into his special teams work, and volunteered for additional duty as a fullback. He recognized that he was on the bubble and figured out ways to get off the bubble. It was only two weeks ago that Greg Roman lauded Dixon for a strong game against Houston, but also added, "He needs to have another great one this week."
Dixon finished the preseason strong and now he finds himself on the 53-man roster. More importantly, he could provide important depth in Week 1. Brandon Jacobs is working back from a knee injury that kept him out of the final two preseason games, and I have to think there is a good chance he will be listed as questionable on this week's injury report.
Coach Harbaugh said it was possible he could play this Sunday, but I find myself thinking the 49ers will take it slow with Jacobs and give him one more week of recovery time. In the preseason, Jacobs looked better in short yardage work compared to Dixon, but the team did give Dixon plenty of work on short yardage and goal line situations. The team was willing to stick with him for a reason, and it seems like with the rest of the running back corps healthy, Dixon could be the guy who gets a few short yardage plays in place of Jacobs this weekend.
The 49ers first practice participation report will be released on Wednesday, followed by ones Thursday and Friday, with the final injury report Friday afternoon. Coach Harbaugh and the 49ers coaching staff guard injury news like state secrets, so I can't imagine they will give anything away with regards to Jacobs. Even if he doesn't practice the entire week, if he is listed as anything other than questionable, it would be a surprise to me.
But the 49ers thankfully are in a position where depth is not yet a concern at running back. If Jacobs can't go, while I do see Dixon getting some touches, it is safe to say Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James will all get plenty of opportunities with the ball. Furthermore, in spite of his size, Hunter has proven himself to be a powerful back when going between the tackles. He may not have Brandon Jacobs size, but he does a good job forcing the situation, nonetheless.