Elijah Mitchell injury

The San Francisco 49ers have had five different leading rushers since Kyle Shanahan took over as head coach in 2017. There is a good chance the streak will continue despite the fact that starting running back Elijah Mitchell suffered a damaged MCL in his right knee in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears and will be out for around two months.

For the 49ers, this is just another season where an unknown running back has emerged as a key cog. That’s why, every year, the Niners make it a point to strengthen their running back corps through free agency, the draft, or both.

Shanahan: “I think we’ve gone through at least four throughout the course of a year, and we’re already at that again.” “Therefore, there can be no such thing as having too many of them. It’s odd how quickly the feeling of abundance can turn into a sense of scarcity.”

The loss of Mitchell, a bright young player who was off to a solid start and positioned to become the first 1,000-yard rusher in Shanahan’s San Francisco career, is bad news for the Niners.

If there is any good news to be had, it is that no club in the NFL has shown greater adaptability to running back injuries. This strategy has allowed the team’s second-round pick, three undrafted free agents, and a sixth-round pick (Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida, Jeff Wilson Jr., Raheem Mostert, and Mitchell) to all become the leading rusher in their respective seasons.

The 49ers are ranked 11th in the NFL in rushing yards and yards per carrying since 2017, while they are ranked ninth in rushing attempts. The team ranks sixth in rushing yards and thirteenth in yards per carrying over the past three seasons. This success has given the Niners hope that they can continue to be effective in the running game even after Mitchell’s departure.

We’re hoping to have greater luck with that in the future, but in the meanwhile, “hold down the fort here a little bit,” as Shanahan put it, so that “when Elijah comes back, he’s coming back to a better team and helping us make a run.”

Once Mitchell returns if, at all, the Niners will have a much clearer understanding of the depth of their running back group this season. Both JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon, running backs for the team in 2021, were waived in August before being claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.

Neither Hasty nor Sermon were very productive in the NFL, but they would have added some senior leadership to a running back backfield that now only has two players with NFL carries (Wilson and veteran Marlon Mack, who was signed to the practice squad on Tuesday).

Because of his background, Wilson will be given priority in the search to replace Mitchell. Last year, Wilson had a torn meniscus in his knee and missed the first half of the season before making nine appearances. He didn’t look like the same guy that led the club in rushing in 2020 when he finally got some playing time. A year after his injury, Wilson looked more like his old self in training camp, but when he replaced Mitchell at a soggy Soldier Field on Sunday, he only gained 22 yards on nine carries.

‘We’ve always been comfortable with Jeff, just because of his expertise and what he’s done here,’ Shanahan said. Foreknowledge of the contents is sufficient.

However, the Niners are taking a chance with their two running backs behind Wilson. The Niners’ decision to keep Tyrion Davis-Price (a third-round pick) and undrafted rookie Jordan Mason (who has yet to play a regular season NFL offensive action) above Hasty and Sermon is an indication that they see potential in both players.

Read More: Mac Jones Suffered a Back Injury During the New England Patriots Loss to The Miami Dolphins!

Both Davis-Price and Mason are more of a physical back than the likes of Mostert and Breida, who are more of a speed threat. Mason’s contributions on special teams helped him earn a starting spot on Sunday, ahead of Davis-Price. It’s not conclusive that he will have more rushing opportunities than he does, but it’s all we have so far.

For both of the rookie backs, Shanahan says, the most important thing is mastering the “small stuff” that occurs when they don’t have the ball, such as blitz pickups, route running, and run blocking. Both players, according to Shanahan, will have to “grow up fast” as they would be expected to contribute immediately.

That’s the hardest part about being a running back in this offense, fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. “Regarding the simple act of carrying the ball, the jump from college to the NFL is not very steep. And that’s why the NFL’s running back position is so popular among first-year players. But it’s the stuff that you have to do when you don’t have the ball that I might normally do as a fullback.”

Read More: Derek Barnett Injury: Torn ACL During the Philadelphia Eagles Game and Will Be Out for the Rest of the 2022 NFL Season!

The 49ers have other ways to inject life into the running game. Both quarterback Trey Lance and wide receiver Deebo Samuel showed off their abilities in the Bear’s loss. The Niners won’t be afraid to ask Lance to pick up yards on the ground, even though his rushing efforts will be more difficult to predict due to the fact that some of them will occur outside the framework of the play.

Despite Shanahan’s insistence that the running backs must still perform, Samuel’s utilization as a running back will remain a cornerstone in the scheme now that Mitchell is out with injury. To Samuel’s satisfaction, he can continue to function adequately as a “wide back.”

Check Here For The Latest Sports Updates: https://www.sportzmode.com/

You May Also Like

Dominic Thiem Injury: Announced He Would Stage a Comeback from a Wrist Injury!

Dominic Thiem is a tennis player from Austria. The Association of Tennis…

Dion Dawkins Has Restructured His Contract with The Bills to Release Nearly $5.5 Million in Cap Space!

Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane delivered this week on his vow to…

While Michael Gallup Returns from Injury, the Dallas Cowboys Are in Better Hands

The Dallas Cowboys wide receivers have been a prominent topic of conversation…

Max Meyer Is Removed from The Game After the First Inning Due to An Elbow Injury

Only 10 pitches were thrown in Max Meyer’s second MLB start for…