It’s no surprise: Carlos Hyde and NaVorro Bowman are still the starters at running back and inside linebacker, respectively. San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed this in a press conference on Monday, following the team’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5.
In that game, Bowman found himself on the sidelines during a crucial time, replaced by Brock Coyle. Hyde was also replaced for long stretches of time by rookie backup Matt Breida.
“This is not about phasing anyone out,” Shanahan said of Bowman. “We think keeping him fresher will help our team.”
Bowman played a season-high 83 snaps against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. His worst game against the season came after he played 82 snaps against the Seattle Seahawks, and he hasn’t been incredibly effective even when fresh.
I don’t think Bowman is done or near the end of his career. He’s played well enough at other times to convince me he still has it, but keeping him in for every single snap is not the best way to help the team win.
Shanahan said that Hyde “had a couple of bad plays, but nothing to make a big deal about.”
He went on to say that the plan going forward is to go with Hyde at the start of games and spell him with Breida. He added that he will go with the “hot hand” at the running back position. It makes sense, and Breida has looked good in limited action.
That said, I believe Hyde has been under-utilized this season. I don’t know how much of that is him being banged up, but I feel like Shanahan has abandoned the run way too early in games, and is having Brian Hoyer throw the ball far too often.