San Francisco 49ers: 5 Takeaways from Halfway Through the Preseason

San Francisco 49ers, Jeremy McNichols
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Running Game Needs Help Immediately

The preseason hasn’t been a strong showing for running backs on the 49ers’ roster. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida are the two top backs on the depth chart, and both are out until Week 1. The guys behind them haven’t shown their value either after their recent showing. Jeremy McNichols and Joe Williams were given the reigns to take over the ground game, but neither made a case for a spot on the roster.

McNichols came away with 28 yards on 10 rushes and only excelled as a receiver. Williams averaged less than three yards per carry for the second consecutive week after accumulating 18 yards on eight carries.

Both are behind as far as playing time is concerned. And with the signing of Alfred Morris, it seems as if one or even both might be out of San Francisco before the regular season starts.

It’s not entirely on the running backs though. The poor play in the running game is also attributed to the underwhelming work by the offensive line.

Offensive linemen are getting beat inside and getting outmuscled by the front seven. As the protection for Jimmy Garoppolo improves the run blocking seems to have regressed somehow.

If Shanahan wants his offense to produce the kind of numbers he’s used to, then he will need this area to improve.

Next Page: No. 3

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