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Gold Standard: How the 49ers can boost the ground game this week

When the 49ers have had success against the Packers, they have moved the ball on the ground. Everyone remembers the NFC Championship game in 2019 when Raheem Mostert demoralized Green Bay to the tune of 220 yards and four touchdowns.

With the running back room depleted going into Sunday night’s game, Levin Black had an interesting idea to jump-start the offense on today’s Gold Standard Podcast.

“If the run game is struggling again this week, do they play Trey Lance a little bit more to get the run game going and open up the passing game? I could see Trey Lance getting inserted and legitimately playing some drives in order to get the run game going using some of the RPOs to springboard to the rest. That doesn’t mean Jimmy gets replaced. It wouldn’t be a full swap. It would just be to get Trey Lance in there, open things up, and make the outside edge a little bit more of a danger to the Packers.”

The good news for the 49ers is that Green Bay has been struggling on defense so far this season. They’re 25th in rushing defense DVOA and 26th in passing defense DVOA. San Francisco may not need to resort to using Lance at all.

However, if you subscribe to the theory that the best time to use him is in a forgiving environment, it doesn’t get much more forgiving than the home opener against a soft defensive front missing its best player, Za’Darius Smith.

Kyle Shanahan might also like the idea of unveiling Lance in front of the world on Sunday Night Football. He’s made it a point to mention the amount of time opponents will have to dedicate to preparing for a running quarterback, and there may no better way to put that in their heads than in a primetime game on NBC.

At the start of Thursday’s practice, Elijah Mitchell wasn’t present.

The 49ers could be short-handed on the ground against Green Bay, which could be even a bigger reason to feature Lance on the ground.

We also spoke to the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Ryan Wood about the matchup, and the potential for the 49ers to send the Packers’ season into a tailspin with a big win in front of a national audience. Check out the full episode here, and make sure you follow the Niners Nation Podcast Network.

Other topics in today’s episode

  • Film study: What’s really going on with Brandon Aiyuk
  • One thing Kyle Shanahan says people forget about his running game