clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

49ers vs. Saints: Battle Of The Backup Running Backs

New, comments

Although Jim Harbaugh has stated that he wants to get Frank Gore some work in the preseason, the real playing time battle is between Anthony Dixon and Kendall Hunter. As the 49ers depth chart currently stands, Dixon is the number two running back and Hunter is the number three running back. That could very well change between now and the regular season, and that battle will kick into high gear on Friday.

A month ago, nocal81 put took a review of the 49ers backup running back situation and asked who would be the primary backup to Frank Gore. At the time, 46% of you voted that it would be by committee, 29% voted for Hunter, and 23% voted for Dixon. I raise this issue again because of the fortuitous timing of Football Outsiders "Remaining Questions In The NFC West" story at ESPN.

Their question surrounding the 49ers was "What if Frank Gore can't bounce back?" 

Nobody seems to be mentioning that, despite a rebuilt offensive line featuring two highly drafted blockers, Gore averaged only 4.2 yards per carry last year, the lowest rate of his career. And that was before the broken hip that ended his season in Week 12. Gore says he's back at 100 percent, but what if he's not? What if he gets hurt again?

I'd personally make an argument about Mike Singletary's game plan of telling teams they'll be running all day long. Gore is getting up there in age, but even still, a more dynamic offense might be enough to lift that yards per carry.

They go on to briefly break down the other running back options:

The 49ers have a lot of options at backup running back, but none of them is very good. Anthony Dixon was a sixth-round choice in 2010, and Kendall Hunter was a fourth-round pick this year.Xavier Omon has spent three seasons bouncing on and off the rosters of the New York Jets,Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. The most well-known backup might be undrafted rookieJeremiah Masoli, former quarterback for Oregon and Mississippi.
If [Gore]'s hurt again, though, the 49ers will be in deep trouble because they have no Plan B.

Would you agree there is no plan B? I realize a fourth and a sixth round pick are not big names, but are we over-estimating the contributions Dixon and/or Hunter might bring to the table?