The 49ers will place RB Joe Williams on IR today because of an ankle injury, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. We hadn't heard anything about the injury before, so this move is likely at least as motivated by the 4th-round rookie not being ready to contribute on offense. Placing Williams on IR before setting the 53-man roster makes him in eligible to be designated for return this season. Matt Breida, meanwhile, looks increasingly secure as the backup to RB Carlos Hyde.
Niners undrafted rookie RB Matt Breida was once again the 2nd RB into the game for Sunday night's 3rd preseason game against the Vikings. He followed Carlos Hyde in and was the only other HB to play any 1st-half snaps. Fellow rookie Joe Williams, meanwhile, was the 4th RB in, also following Raheem Mostert. If you're looking to handcuff a backup to Hyde late in your fantasy football draft, then it's looking like Breida. Williams sports the talent but clearly has work to do before he climbs the depth chart.
Niners rookie RB Joe Williams ran for 60 yards on 7 carries in Friday night's preseason opener at Kansas City -- an 8.6-yard average -- and showed the quick acceleration that got many excited about him around draft time. Just as notably, however, Williams was the 3rd RB in, following Carlos Hyde and undrafted rookie Matt Breida. Hyde had a quiet night -- 2 carries, 0 yards -- but appears to be in good shape to keep his starting role. We'll see where the Williams-Breida competition goes behind him, though. Breida has generated some slight buzz in training camp.
49ers GM John Lynch said Thursday that RB Carlos Hyde changed his physique to fit the team's offense. (We're assuming this means he dropped weight in preparation for HC Kyle Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme.) "He looks tremendous," Lynch said. It's a rare piece of positive news on Hyde this offseason. Lynch had previously questioned his fit in Shanny's offense; insider Grant Cohn reported that Hyde struggled in spring workouts; and the 'Niners added rookie Joe Williams to the backfield. Hyde is still the favorite to lead this backfield in touches, but it'll be a situation worth monitoring throughout August.
49ers RB Carlos Hyde is struggling in new HC Kyle Shanahan's offense, at least according to insider Grant Cohn. "Hyde is the slowest and most indecisive running back on the team," Cohn writes. "... He doesn’t seem to have the vision to succeed in Kyle Shanahan’s outside-zone running scheme." It's only June, of course, and this is just 1 beat writer's opinion. But it'll only add fuel to the Joe Williams fire. Shanahan reportedly banged the table for the rookie, who's one-cut-and-go style seems like a good fit for the offense. This will be a backfield to monitor closely when training camp opens.
The 49ers selected Utah RB Joe Williams in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Williams has red flag character concerns in his past — he was suspended at UConn for credit card theft in 2013 and quit abruptly while with Utah in 2016. He returned to the Utes after 1 month after the team endured backfield injuries. On the field, Williams will need to improve his ball security and prove that he can threaten defenses out of the backfield. But he’s an impressive athlete from both a speed and agility perspective. The 23-year-old really displayed his talent this past season vs. UCLA, ripping off 332 yards on 29 carries. Now in San Francisco, he'll compete with Tim Hightower and others for a reserve role behind Carlos Hyde. Note that Hyde is entering a contract year.