One trait of Carlos Hyde that gets both praise and criticism is his ability to take hits and keep on running. It gets praised because he’s an absolute bulldozer of a running back who will run through most anybody in his way. It gets criticism because of the concern he’ll break down as a running back and continue to get injured.
It remains a broad discussion point, but it is hard to deny the fact that Carlos Hyde is a talented running back. Some folks are prepared to dump him immediately, but the numbers show a potential that would be foolish to discard so quickly. Pro Football Focus offered up an intriguing statistics earlier today. They ranked our running backs by percentage of runs that gained positive yards after being hit in the backfield. Carlos Hyde led the league.
Making contact with these four HBs in the backfield doesn't necessarily mean it will result in a tackle for loss. pic.twitter.com/qEH3bFnNgZ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 4, 2017
There is something to be said about the toughness of a running back who sheds multiple backfield tackles. However, if he sheds them three or four yards deep, and still never gets back to the line of scrimmage, it’s not all that helpful. Hyde is taking hits in the backfield, and still working his way back past the line of scrimmage.
All of these statistics about Hyde breaking tackles behind the line of scrimmage speak in part to the problems the 49ers offensive line has had the past couple years. Football Outsiders ranked them dead last in adjusted line yards.
The injuries and turnover in talent have created numerous problems. Kyle Shanahan needs to find a long-term answer at quarterback, but without a quality offensive line, it won’t matter all that much. There is some value in that case to seeing what they can develop with the offensive line this year, while still figuring out what the next step is in the search for a QB of the future. The value here and at the running back position are both pretty clear. If Carlos Hyde and the rest of the running back depth chart don’t have to worry as much about getting hit repeatedly in the backfield, yea, that’d be a good thing!