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Oh, Hey There! Let’s give some love to the running backs

Sunday we saw great performances from both Wilson Jr. and Coleman

There’s plenty of credit to go around after the 49ers’ big win on Sunday. On today’s Oh, Hey There! podcast, Jason Aponte and Leo Luna went out of their way to give a little love to two people that no one expected that much from before the game began: Jeff Wilson Jr. and Tevin Coleman.

“Jeff Wilson Jr. definitely deserves some attention here,” Luna said, “I’ve been the one saying, ‘It’s a contract year for Jeff Wilson Jr., he’s probably not a part of the future plans. If the hand’s not hot, get Jordan Mason in.’ I’ve been preaching that.

Yet, two games in a row Wilson looks pretty good. The jump cuts are what stand out to me. They’re quick. They work great in this offense. I’m going to give him some flowers because I’ve been critical of Jeff Wilson Jr. and, ‘If his hand’s not hot get it to someone else.’ Well, his hand is hot right now. Keep feeding number 22.”

Ever since Elijah Mitchell went down, Wilson has been up to the task of filling those shoes. JWJ has had 65 carries for 353 yards in the past four games and two touchdowns. That works out to almost 5.5 yards per carry. This past week against the Panthers, Wilson saw eight or more defenders in the box on 71% of his carries and still put up 120 yards on just 17 attempts.

The best part about what Jeff has brought to the table? Big play ability. Wilson has had an explosive rush of 15 or more yards in every game this season, including three straight weeks with at least one run of 30 or more yards. Picking up chunk yardage like that flips the field and makes it so much easier for an offense to put points on the board.

Jason, meanwhile, wanted to give some love to a more recent addition to the Niners, Tevin Coleman.

“What have the Carolina Panthers done to Tevin Coleman to deserve such a beating? Tevin Coleman is an absolute menace against the Carolina Panthers. He scored four touchdowns against them in 2019, he scored two more against them in this game.

Jimmy Garoppolo stands in on a cover-zero blitz, gets absolutely destroyed, throws it up and Tevin Coleman channels his inner Randy Moss and goes up and gets it. What is it about facing the Carolina Panthers that turns Tevin Coleman into an absolute all-pro?

Tevin is going to get substantial reps while they wait for this running back group to get back together. My goodness, man, Tevin showed burst, he showed vision, he was electric in this game. It’s hard not to be excited about what Coleman did, especially when you think about the fact that he was on the street a few weeks ago.”

We all know that Kyle Shanahan loves signing players he’s worked with in the past, and in this case, that worked in the 49ers’ favor on Sunday. As long as the running back room is depleted and Coleman remains healthy, we know he’s in the Shanahan Circle of Trust (TM). He’s going to continue to get opportunities out there, particularly on third down. If he produces as he did in Week 5, Elijah Mitchell’s absence won’t be nearly as conspicuous.

Other topics in today’s show

  • The special teams are still sketchy (1:15)
  • The defense is still good, even with a ton of injuries that would kill most teams (4:28)
  • The running backs on this team deserve some love (6:03)
  • Is Jimmy Garoppolo HIM? (11:28)
  • The injuries for this team are significant - again (15:37)
  • Who replaces Emmanuel Moseley? (20:41)
  • Robbie Gould’s injury could be a bigger problem than people think (23:58)
  • Iced or Hot: Are the 49ers a real contender through 5 weeks? (27:01)
  • Reinforcements are coming for the 49ers (32:16)