Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


49ers running back Matt Breida not worried about losing touches to Tevin Coleman

Sep 4, 2019 at 10:33 AM--


There's been some question from San Francisco 49er fans this off-season as to how the work will be divided among the running backs this year. One element of that equation was removed (or re-removed) when Jerick McKinnon suffered setbacks on his reconstructed ACL causing the 49ers to place him on injured reserve for the second straight season.

The 49ers brought in Tevin Coleman to help Matt Breida shoulder the load. Breida, who performed admirably last year after being thrust into the starting role, has continued to impress this pre-season and earned his place atop the 49ers depth chart at running back.

But Coleman is no slouch either, despite not flashing much in the 49ers preseason contests (which is no surprise, given that the preseason turned into the Jeff Wilson show—Wilson, who ended up on the 49ers practice squad).

Coleman has always been efficient, explosive, and exceedingly capable as a route runner and pass receiver out of the backfield, all traits that make him a great fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense. He's also a bigger guy at 6'1'', 205 pounds, as compared to the 5'9'', 190-pound Breida.

And with the 49ers and Shanahan needing to run the ball, both to set up the play-action passes that Jimmy Garoppolo does so well, and to help keep the pass-rush off of him, it's easy to see that there will be plenty of work for both of the 49ers top two running backs.

Breida, for one, isn't worried at all.

"I'm just looking forward to playing together with him," Breida said Monday via Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group. "Last year, Jet got hurt, so no one really could see what the offense could fully do.

"I feel like this year now, even though Jet is still hurt, we've got Tevin now, which will help take some more off me. It'll be good."

Reading between the lines a bit here, Breida implies that Shanahan's offense is at its best when it has multiple talented running backs capable of doing many things well, just like Breida and Coleman.

"This offense allows running backs to stay in the NFL longer, because you're not taking a pounding," Breida said. "There's guys like Le'veon Bell or Saquon (Barkley), where you're getting the ball every single game. Those guys are bigger and can do it.

"But at the same time, (Shanahan's scheme) is going to prolong your career, and you'll feel better going down the road. As we get toward the playoffs, you'll feel fresher, because you won't have as many carries as those guys do."

Sounds like the words of someone both confident in himself, and happy with his role in the offense. Breida understands the bigger picture and the long game, in which he and Coleman both have a lot to contribute for the long regular season—and beyond.





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