Just what do the San Francisco 49ers plan to do at running back? That backfield is loaded with stars in Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. Thinking of what this running game may shape up to is very intriguing.
Might as well speculate. An NFL scouting “insider” recently wrote up fantasy reports for all 32 NFL teams on Sports Illustrated. Now you know how we take anonymous insiders around here, with a grain of salt.
Regardless, he (probably) has watched more film than I ever will and offers an interesting take on how to see the running back pecking order.
They’re going to use three running backs, Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida. They signed McKinnon last year expecting that he would be their version of Devonta Freeman. Then they signed Coleman from the Falcons this offseason. I would think that if McKinnon is recovered from his right-ACL injury, the pairing of him and Coleman would mirror what Shanahan did as Atlanta’s coordinator with Freeman and Coleman. San Francisco uses its fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, a lot. He was on the field for 63% of the snaps last year. He’s not just a blocker. He’s a very good receiver.
The insider later went on to say the 49ers could be “pretty good” offensively.
Everything is shaping up to where this could be a committee-style approach to running backs, but having a tier of Coleman/McKinnon and then Breida sounds reasonable. Breida is a huge threat, but he also fought to stay healthy through 2018. He’s best when he can be at full-explosiveness (like anyone, if you think about it) and the 49ers could be using him at less capacity than 2018. I doubt it’d be a change-of-pace back, but it be something like a 40-35-25 split or something along those lines. I also think there will be series where they will just keep Breida on the field for several downs and run several packages exclusive to him. Another reason why I don’t think he’s just coming in to give someone a breather.
We already talked about who gets the most carries, so no sense in rehashing who specifically gets the lion’s share (everyone said Coleman, if you’re curious). I am going to poll the opposite end now. Someone is going to get less work than the other two. Who do you think in this committee or starter/backup approach is getting the least work?
I think it’s Breida, but this is a situation where I don’t think that outcome is a bad thing. He’s not being used as the guy who comes in every third down or in emergencies. He’s being used as the fresh guy to bring in for specific series when the 49ers want to do something or run packages specific to him. Keep in mind, this is not carries, this is snaps.
And yes, I’m leaving Raheem Mostert out. He’s specifically that guy I mentioned above and I think we can all agree he’s better utilized on special teams when the 49ers running backs are at full strength.
Which running back in the trio of Breida, Coleman and McKinnon gets the least snaps?
This poll is closed