It’s not supposed to be this way.
The term training camp is intended for those 90+ athletes pursuing a career within the NFL. For the San Francisco 49ers team as a whole, the trainers have gotten plenty of training themselves.
For a team with their eye on another Lombardi Trophy, 49ers have taken a couple of untimely hits to their roster. On the second day of training camp, Kendall Hunter suffered a torn ACL after catching a swing pass in a non contact drill. That injury was followed up by one to Hunter’s presumed replacement. On the fourth day of camp, LaMichael James dislocated his elbow during a blitz pick up portion of practice. Hunter’s injury will sideline him for the entire season. James’ injury is presumed to shelf his contributions for at least a month.
So now here we sit. Coming into camp, the strongest position group on the 49ers team as a whole was the running backs. It was deep, talented group. A group that listed names such as Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Carlos Hyde, Marcus Lattimore, and Jewel Hampton. Four days into camp and there are only four (*mostly) healthy names left.
Simply put, Frank Gore is the man. He’ll continue to be so until he, himself, proves otherwise. But, the brutality of football in general, let alone the running back position, requires reliable backups. With the talented, unproven trio of Hyde, Lattimore, and Hampton as the only three left in the cupboard, the position is now an unknown. It’s up to 49ers running backs coach, Tom Rathman, to turn that unknown into a certainty. As one of the most highly regarded position coaches in the league, I have full confidence in Rathman’s ability to do so. He’ll also get an assist from one of the best, reliable backs in the league in Gore.
Although the position has been thinned out considerably, it’s still not an area of concern just yet. That still won’t stop this concerned fan from digging out his lucky rabbit’s foot.
*Marcus Lattimore’s complete health is still up for debate