Carlos Hyde is a much better running back than some give him credit for, he just didn’t seem to fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. The San Francisco 49ers pass game in particular was something Hyde struggled with and whenever a chance came for him to get involved in dedicated passing plays, it’d lead to disappointment. So when you consider Hyde is in Kansas City now and he finds that Chiefs offense “like a dream come true” because of the pass game, you have to scratch your head.
Wait. What? Hyde likes the offense because it’s a passing offense?
“For a running back like me who likes to catch the ball . . . it would be like a dream come true,” Hyde said per ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “It’s not just a one-dimensional running back here. You do it all. You line up at receiver. You actually run routes. You’re not just a decoy. . .You really get to showcase your ability. I didn’t know they used the running back so much in the passing game until I got here. It put a smile on my face.”
Hyde is a player you hand the ball to and he shoots through the tackles like a cannonball. He’s tried working on his patience, but he’s been most useful in a style that requires him going from 0 to 60 as quick as possible.
The 49ers use the running back in the passing game, or try to. They tried to use Hyde in the but that career 71 percent catch rate (37th out of 46) tells you how that worked out. It was enough for the 49ers to go get Jerick McKinnon for this specific reason. It also resonates to why Tevin Coleman has a job with the 49ers and Hyde is elsewhere.
That’s not to say the 49ers didn’t try using Hyde in the pass game, but when they did, things like this happened:
With the loss of Kareem Hunt (and maybe the reason why Hyde is in Kansas City to begin with), Hyde has an opportunity to pry the starting running back job with the Chiefs if he can get his pass-catching skills up. As it stands, there was a reason the 49ers decided to go in a different direction when Hyde’s contract was up. He never was a bad running back, but he just didn’t fit the system Shanahan wanted to run.
The coaches may have known this and that’s why they used him sparingly in the pass game. Or maybe he’s ready to be a pass catching back. If Hyde can catch balls consistently, he can be one of the better backs in the league.
Perhaps he was just put in the wrong situation in San Francisco.