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49ers to sign RB Alfred Morris

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Few running backs know Kyle Shanahan’s offense like Morris.

Fooch’s update: Kyle Shanahan had a couple comments on the signing of Alfred Morris.

On what he brings to the table: “Alf did a a great job for us for the two years I was with him. It’s not flashy, but he runs extremely hard. He’s very reliable, he’s always been able to — you’re blocking for zero, he’s usually able to get at least one. He’s a hard-nose runner you can keep handing the ball off to. Very reliable.”

On if he has a chance at a roster spot: “I just told him, I waited so long to invite him because I didn’t want to invite him unless I believed he had the chance to make a team. I do believe he has a chance to make the team here. And that’s all Alf wants. He wants a chance to compete, and I think with some of these injuries that we’ve had, now he does have a chance to compete. He’s getting in late, but we’ll see how he does over these next two weeks. If he’s running the same way he always has, he’ll have a chance.”

The San Francisco 49ers are going to sign running back Alfred Morris this week, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Once Morris passes his physical, he is expected to join the team for their joint practices against the Houston Texans.

The move comes following injuries to starting running back Jerick McKinnon and primary backup Matt Breida. McKinnon suffered a calf strain on Sunday at practice, and will miss this week. The team will re-evaluate him next week, but it seems unlikely he plays the rest of the preseason. Breida suffered a separated shoulder last week against the Dallas Cowboys, and while he is expected to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, he is unlikely to practice in full or play the rest of the preseason.

There are few running backs who know Kyle Shanahan’s system quite like Morris. Washington spent a sixth round pick on Morris in 2012, and he had a monster rookie season with Shanahan as his OC. Morris finished the season with 1,613 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He had 1,275 yards in 2013 with Shanahan, and then 1,074 the year after Shanahan left.

Morris is an easy plug-and-play for the remainder of the preseason, but it will be interesting to see how the depth chart shakes out. Raheem Mostert and Joe Williams were competing for the third running back role, with Jeremy McNichols and Jeff Wilson behind them. Morris turns 30 in December, but he very well could jump in and make a quick impact.

McKinnon’s calf injury and Breida’s shoulder injury should clear up for Week 1, but if there are any concerns that they might nag them for a while longer, Morris could very easily claim a role with the 49ers. For now though, he’s a preseason option that will look to get some film together to land elsewhere. I feel like after the third preseason game we’ll have a better handle on if he has a shot at a roster spot.