We take a look at what turned out to be a solid year for running back Anthony Dixon. One of many 49ers who deserves a moment in the sun.
Back in July, two weeks before the 49ers began we ran a post on the 49ers running backs that included a poll about Anthony Dixon's future. 77% of voters felt that Dixon would not be on the 49ers 53-man roster when the 2012 regular season got started. I remained convinced for much of camp that Rock Cartwright was going to grab the RB/ST spot given his veteran status.
How wrong a lot of us were.
Before the regular season, most of us didn't have @boobie24dixon as having a chance to make the roster. So happy that he's contributed.— James Brady (@JamesBradySBN) January 21, 2013
Anthony Dixon has always been a big personality on the 49ers, but for fans, he always seemed stuck on the roster bubble, just as likely to be bounced off the team as to stick around. He was an exuberant presence on special teams, but he never quite seemed to be the guy to break through as a running back.
Turns out it really wasn't necessary. Dixon became proactive this past training camp and asked for work as a fullback. He may or may not have benefited from Brandon Jacobs injury in the preseason, but either way he was on the roster.
Boobie Dixon has not been a huge contributor in the running game, but when given modest opportunities, he has done some solid work. This led to one of my favorite plays this past Sunday against the Falcons. The 49ers faced 3rd and 1 on the Falcons 29, with ten minutes remaining and the 49ers trailing 24-21. One yard is not a big deal, but to give Dixon a shot in there said plenty about the coaching staff's belief in Dixon. Dixon busted through the hole for four yards, and the 49ers would go on to score a touchdown on the drive.
Beyond these occasional short yardage plays, Dixon has been a strong part of a special teams coverage unit that has bounced back after a poor start. After a 2011 season that saw historic dominance in punt coverage, the unit struggled out of the gate in 2012. However, a strong second half helped Andy Lee earn another All-Pro honor.
Special teams will be a big key against the Ravens, as Jacoby Jones put together a strong 2012 campaign. His best work is as a kick returner, where he led the NFL at 30.7 yards a pop, but his punt return work is very solid as well. Anthony Dixon will continue doing the dirty work, but he has a chance to be a pertinent part of further 49ers success.
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