Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports



Two prominent San Francisco 49ers veterans spent a lot of time on Sunday watching from the sideline against the Indianapolis Colts. The first was running back Carlos Hyde, whose reduced playing time took place during the second half of the game, and the second was All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke at length with the media on Monday and discussed the extended absence of his two starters.

Running back Matt Breida had the busiest game of his rookie season. He was in on 35 offensive snaps compared to the 33 that Hyde played. Hyde had just eight carries for 11 yards against the Colts but had 16 yards after contact. That means the running back was often engaged behind the line of scrimmage due to poor pass protection.

"I plan on going with Carlos early and I plan on spelling him with Breida regardless, whether he is doing good or bad," Shanahan told reporters. "Or even when he is doing good. But, Breida had a real good week of practice. We weren't out there as much as we wanted, especially early in the game, and we ended up just going with the hot hand. We felt like Breida was going better at the time. I think they ended up, I think it was like 35 plays to 33 plays, so it was pretty even. That's how it played out in that game. But, I think it'll be a different story each week."

Shanahan went on to say that nothing has changed as far as the depth chart is concerned. Hyde is who he plans to continue going with to start games.

RELATED Transcript: Kyle Shanahan discusses Hyde and Bowman's playing time, V.P.'s exit from Colts game

"Hyde is who we go with," Shanahan said. "Hyde is who I expect to be out there, and nothing has changed with that. But, it depends on the fronts we're going against, what personnel we want in, the type of practice, the week of practice, how it's looked. And that really goes for all positions. But, I definitely see Hyde as our first guy and Breida spelling him and Raheem [Mostert] after that."

Running back Raheem Mostert was in on four plays against the Colts.

"I've got confidence in all three of them," Shanahan continued. "I feel we've got good backs on this team but the problem is you only get to hand the ball off to one of them. I would love for each guy to get 25 carries every game, and hopefully, someday we'll do that. If we are, it means things are going very well."

Hyde and Shanahan have not spoken one-on-one about the decision and the 49ers head coach doesn't believe it is necessary.

"I think Carlos is a man," Shanahan said. "I think Carlos understands it. I know Carlos if he didn't, he would come and talk to me."



Last month, Hyde said that Breida has shown so much talent that he anticipated his backup getting a lot of playing time.

"Matt's going to be a big part of this offense," Hyde said. "He has a lot of speed. He has a lot of talent that the coaches can utilize. We go together good like a thunder and lightning combo. So, he'll be used just as much as I'm being used so it will be good for us. We keep each other fresh and tear the season up."

Breida's story is an interesting one. He was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine nor was he drafted. Breida was signed by the 49ers as an undrafted free agent following the draft and quickly worked his way up the depth chart. In three seasons at Georgia Southern, he carried the football 542 times for 3,740 yards and 37 touchdowns. Breida's best season came in 2015 when he carried the football 203 times for 1,609 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Shanahan explained the reason for Bowman's absence as the coaching staff doing what it felt was best for the linebacker and the team. Bowman played 58 snaps in Indianapolis. Ray-Ray Armstrong played 57 snaps while Brock Coyle was in the game for 25.

"I do strongly believe keeping Bo as fresh as possible gives him the best chance to be successful, which gives our team the best chance. Our defense has been averaging about 80 plays a game, and I think that's a little too much for him, and really all the linebackers. Ray-Ray gets his plays off when we go dime every time anyway, so he's always off the field regardless when we go dime. So, went into that game planning to give Brock a couple series in there, and I think we did go with the plan with him getting two, and then Bo went out another series because of the stinger he had.

"I thought it helped us. I thought it helped Bo. I know that's not something that any players like but it's a decision we feel will help him in the long run."

Shanahan stressed that the decision with Bowman isn't part of a plan to phase the veteran linebacker out and replace him with younger players.