SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Take it from one of many San Francisco 49ers’ latest and costliest additions — operating again Tevin Coleman is a optimistic addition to a operating again room that appears to be overflowing with pace and flexibility.
“Oh, I’ve obtained a scouting report on him,” linebacker Kwon Alexander stated. “I needed to play him twice a yr, so, yeah, I do know him. … He can catch the ball, run, and make nice cuts. He is obtained nice imaginative and prescient, very quick too. He will be an ideal addition to this workforce.”
Alexander and Coleman know one another nicely from their twice-yearly clashes within the NFC South when Alexander was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Coleman with the Atlanta Falcons. That the 49ers prioritized including Alexander got here as no shock after Reuben Foster’s launch throughout the season, however some may need been caught off guard by the Niners’ pursuit of Coleman.
In spite of everything, with coach Kyle Shanahan and operating backs coach Bobby Turner in place, the 49ers have demonstrated the power to get manufacturing from low-cost, lesser-known backs like Matt Breida and Jeff Wilson Jr. And with Jerick McKinnon getting back from a torn ACL and Raheem Mostert getting back from a fractured forearm, the Niners’ want at operating again paled compared to most different positions.
Tevin Coleman rushed for 800 yards and 4 scores final season. Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports activities
However Shanahan has lengthy been a fan of Coleman’s, and when the free-agent market did not yield the kind of big-dollar contract some anticipated he would possibly land, Shanahan and the Niners could not resist signing him to a two-year deal value as much as $eight.5 million.
“We had been very lucky to have an opportunity to get Tevin,” Shanahan stated. “(We) did not actually suppose that in any respect that may be a chance of going by means of. It ended up figuring out.”
Because the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator, Shanahan was a part of the workforce that took Coleman within the third spherical of the 2015 NFL draft and spent two seasons serving to him develop. After getting his toes moist as a rookie, Coleman was a productive tag workforce associate with Devonta Freeman in 2016, breaking by means of with 941 scrimmage yards, 11 touchdowns and averages of four.41 yards per carry and 13.6 yards per reception. Coleman put up comparable numbers in every of the previous two years earlier than hitting the free-agent market.
Whereas the ties between Shanahan and Coleman made San Francisco a chance, it appeared unlikely until Coleman’s value landed someplace near discount standing. When it occurred, the Niners pounced regardless of already having McKinnon, Breida and Mostert within the plans, together with high-priced fullback Kyle Juszczyk. That group was already anticipated to depend about $14.38 million in opposition to this yr’s wage cap earlier than signing Coleman or finalizing the three-year deal the workforce did with Mostert on Friday.
Coleman’s addition instantly raised questions on how all of the items will match and whether or not one of many backs could possibly be on the best way out. McKinnon, who is because of depend $5.75 million in opposition to the cap, appeared to have essentially the most tenuous standing contemplating his assured cash has already been paid and he’s coming off a torn ACL.
When Shanahan was requested whether or not the 49ers had been involved about McKinnon’s restoration or if he was comfy carrying 4 tailbacks on the roster, he did not sound like somebody who was going to shrink back from doing one thing somewhat completely different on the place.
“I think about it an excellent factor,” Shanahan stated. “There’s loads of guys now we have confidence in and loads of guys with some completely different ability units too that we are able to use otherwise.”
Whereas all 4 backs are recognized for his or her pace — Coleman has already mused that the quartet of tailbacks would make a wonderful 4×100 relay workforce — all of them deliver one thing completely different to the desk.
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McKinnon was anticipated to be a critical issue within the go recreation earlier than his harm final yr. Breida confirmed he could be a dynamic exterior runner in his second season. And Mostert is likely one of the recreation’s greatest particular groups gamers who additionally confirmed some operating potential in 2018.
In Coleman, the Niners landed their most balanced and, maybe most essential, their most sturdy. Within the Niners’ injury-plagued 2018 season, maybe no place on offense was hit tougher by a wide range of illnesses than operating again. McKinnon missed all 16 video games, Mostert missed seven and Breida missed two, although he additionally departed a number of video games with a nagging ankle situation.
By the tip of the season, the Niners had 4 backs assume the position of the first possibility within the run recreation at one level or one other. And whereas that group nonetheless managed to supply 2,580 scrimmage yards and 9 touchdowns, these numbers tailed off towards the tip of the season with simply 481 yards from scrimmage and one landing within the remaining 4 video games.
All of which helps to elucidate why San Francisco may go into the season with extra backs than Shanahan has ever carried on the roster.
That is not to say the Niners would not hear if somebody confirmed curiosity in a commerce for one of many workforce’s backs, nevertheless it’s removed from outrageous to suppose all 4 will stick round for the season. Even when that quartet is not energetic on recreation day every week, final season served as a convincing reminder that depth is prone to come into play sooner or later.
“You are able to do something you need,” Shanahan stated. “However, you have to make sense of all of it. I feel we’re in a state of affairs proper now, simply our roster, that I feel it may make loads of sense this yr.”