Raheem Mostert didn't live up to expectations in 2020. I blame myself.
I said the 49ers should start Mostert and give him 15 carries per game. I said he could lead the entire NFL in rushing if given the opportunity. And the 49ers clearly listened, because I'm an honorary quality control coach, and a good one.
I set up Mostert for failure.
And he didn't really fail. He still averaged 5 yards per carry as the starter, because he's outstanding. But he played in only 8 games. Which means he missed 50 percent of the season. And the 49ers suffered because of his absence.
In retrospect, I was wrong to push the 49ers to start Mostert. Because as good as he is, he still weighs only 205 pounds. He isn't built to be a starting running back. Isn't built to withstand the pounding.
Last season, he averaged 13 carries per game, and even that was too much. The previous season, when Mostert was the change-of-pace running back, he averaged 8 carries per games, and stayed healthy all season.
Next season, I expect the 49ers will use Mostert they way they did in 2019 when he helped take them to the Super Bowl. That year, he was their No. 2 running back, a member of a three-man committee. And by using him sparingly, the 49ers kept him fresh for the playoffs, and then he singlehandedly took over the NFC Championship.
Look for Mostert to split carries with Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell in 2021.
And look for Mostert to outgain them all.