Jeff Wilson steps up in 49ers’ backfield

San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (41) runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

SANTA CLARA — Next man up.

Jeff Wilson, yet another undrafted backup running back, will get a chance to shine for the 49ers this Sunday because the starter is injured. Starter Matt Breida sprained his left ankle last Sunday during warmups before the 49ers’ 43-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He will not play in the 49ers’ upcoming game against the Denver Broncos.

“I’ve been dealing with it all year long,” Breida said Wednesday in the 49ers’ locker room. “Not 100 percent guaranteed I will be back next week (against the Seahawks). I have to take it day by day and see how it feels.”

Breida, an undrafted free agent in 2017, was the backup to starting running back Jerick McKinnon before the season started. But McKinnon tore his ACL, so Breida became the starter. And Breida has played extremely well. He’s averaging 5.6 yards per carry — third best in the NFL among qualified running backs.

Breida first injured his left ankle Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. The next few games, Breida split carries with fellow undrafted free agent Raheem Mostert, who also excelled. Mostert averaged 7.7 yards per carry before a broken arm ended his season.

Every undrafted 49ers running back seems to run well. And now it’s Wilson’s turn.

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This article has 18 Comments

  1. Has any reporter actually asked what in gods name is going on with the strengths and conditioning staff? This is all gone way past the injury bug.

  2. No doubt the bright spot of this season . The scheme is effective and McGlinchey should get credit for picking up the scheme and playing well. Same goes for most of the OL.

    Will Dayes be activated? I expect Wilson, Dayes and Morris to be active.

  3. I read this one. I like what I’ve seen from Wilson, and wish him continued success. I’d be shocked if we draft a running back. Looking forward to the competition in training camp, and the rotation throughout the season….

  4. I hope they coach Wilson to go down on first contact. He should not struggle for every inch, get held up, and stripped of the ball.
    Although I think he was already down when Wagner caused that fumble.

    1. On that play (barreling ahead for an extra yard), Jeff was the leader of our team. He made people better around him by making that play. It boosted our energy.”

      Now imagine how Mullins would be talking about what kind of leader hits the turf on the first hit.

      More idiotic nonsense from our resident idiot.

    2. “I hope they coach Wilson to go down on first contact“

      From the mouth of someone who dabbles in Japanaese infusion gardening.

        1. Frank Gore ran close to the ground. He did not stay upright, fighting for every inch, because then they could hold him up right, gang tackle him and strip the ball away.
          In 3,365 carries, Frank Gore has fumbled only 40 times.

  5. “Every undrafted 49ers running back seems to run well. And now it’s Wilson’s turn.”
    Yes, because it all seems magical when one is clueless…

  6. Mood_Indigo – I don’t think anybody is “clueless” as you suggest. However, I believe a study of the styles and schemes of offensive run games featuring “1-cut zone” packages reveals that it is an easier transition and success rate for either low round draft picks or undrafted free agents because that type of run game is devoid of the intricacies of running from several different backfield alignments across the formation and from reading more complex run blocking schemes.

    Additionally, the inside/outside zone schemes are prevalent in many college run games these days, so more RBs are familiar with the scheme and the read concepts.

    Denver will bring to town this weekend an RB who also was an undrafted FA who is undersized by prototype NFL standards; yet, is having an outstanding season running the ball.

    For years, zone RBs who either were low draft picks or FAs have dominated the rushing leaderboards – Terrell Davis, Alfred Morris, Adrian Foster – just to name a few.

    Only proves that unless an RB is a “unique generational player” there is no need to expend a high draft pick on that player.

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