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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

49ers rookie RBs Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price to get opportunities vs. Dolphins

Dec 2, 2022 at 9:16 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers running back depth chart took a hit on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Elijah Mitchell exited the game with a knee injury. Later, tests revealed that the second-year player suffered his second MCL sprain of the season and would miss six to eight weeks.

Then Christian McCaffrey exited late in the game, dealing with some knee irritation. He is expected to be suited up this weekend against the Miami Dolphins. However, the injury on Sunday left the 49ers to rely on rookie running back Jordan Mason—known to his coaches and teammates as "J.P."—to carry the load and secure the shutout victory.

Mason finished the game with 25 rushing yards on five carries. Following a Saints timeout with 4:07 remaining, it was Mason the rest of the way. The rookie picked up a couple of first downs in the closing minutes, kept the Saints offense off the field, and the 49ers improved to 7-4, earning their fourth consecutive victory.

"When he gets the ball, I think you can feel him," head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday morning on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "He runs hard. I know we feel it from the sidelines, and it was cool. He hadn't gotten a lot of opportunities carrying the ball, but when we lost Elijah, when Christian was banged up, we had to close out that game with him.

"And for a rookie to go in like that, who doesn't have much experience, for him to go in and run—I think we ran the ball 10 times out of 11 plays on that final drive, and I think all were to him but one. And for the way he protected the ball but still running over guys, I thought was real impressive."

With Mitchell out until at least the playoffs, assuming the 49ers can make another deep run, the team will rely on their two young running backs to help McCaffrey down the stretch of the season.

"It's also going to give Ty Davis an opportunity to get back up," Shanahan added. "Those guys have been battling all year, and Ty was leading it a little bit in terms of running the ball, but J.P. was leading it in terms of special teams. And when you're behind those guys (McCaffrey and Mitchell) up front, the tie goes to the special teams player.

"Now, Ty's got a chance to get back out there too, and we'll mix it up with both those guys to see how it all ends up."

Davis-Price suffered a high-ankle sprain during Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. He's been inactive in six games since then, including the last three games.

"We've remained very high on Ty Davis-Price," general manager John Lynch told KNBR listeners on Thursday. "He's starting to get involved and got hurt versus Seattle. It took him a little while to get back, and he's kind of just been a victim of you only get so many guys up on game day.

"I think the reason Jordan Mason has kind of ascended is because he's a really good special teams player, so that's probably been more reflective of why Jordan's been the guy up. But Jordan has earned some trust, and now Ty Davis has to go do that."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.


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