The San Francisco 49ers offense has a lot of question marks, and with the loss of Bruce Ellington, it only gets worse. We have seen a potentially improved offensive line, and if things progress well, the 49ers will be depending heavily on the ground game to carry them. Carlos Hyde has his share of questions, but he is doing some great work through three preseason games.
Most runs of 15+ yards this preseason pic.twitter.com/RRIqqZUbyQ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 31, 2016
There are a couple things to keep in mind with this information. This is an incredibly small sample size, and we also don’t know how many of each player’s runs has come against first vs. second string defensive players. We know Hyde’s gotten more first string work than Davis, so we can factor that in to some extent.
On the other side, we can look at yards per carry. Through three games, Hyde has 15 rushes for 85 yards and one touchdown. His YPC is 5.67 yards. Davis has 14 rushes for 111 yards. His YPC is 7.92 yards. Both running backs have been credited with one lost fumble, although we know Davis has had other issues with ball security in the preseason.
Teams are keeping things relatively vanilla on both sides of the ball, so we can’t take too much away from this. Once we get into the regular season, we’ll see more exotic defenses and more game-planning. Specifically, until the passing game shows any semblance of consistency, defenses are going to stack the box against them. Of course, Kelly likely knows that, so the game-planning on the 49ers side will be interesting. But, at least for now we’re seeing some ground-game success.