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Why it is Unlikely Trey Sermon Receives Sizeable Playing Time

Elijah Mitchell is doubtful against the Jaguars, but that does not mean Trey Sermon will see much action.

Elijah Mitchell is listed as doubtful for the 49ers against the Jaguars.

His finger fracture just isn't at a tolerable stage for him to be suiting up. It would behoove the 49ers to hold Mitchell out and not allow him further injure his finger. They already have adequate running backs who can maintain the effectiveness of the ground game with Jeff Wilson Jr. and Trey Sermon.

However, I wouldn't hold my breathe on seeing Sermon a whole lot on Sunday. At least, I didn't get that impression from Kyle Shanahan when he gave his thoughts on Sermon's potential playing time against the Jaguars.

“He's ready for whatever amount we give him," Shanahan said. "We don't decide that number, but whatever we give him, he’ll be ready. He's been ready every week, so if Elijah is not up, that does give him an opportunity.”

Sermon has been the odd man out in the backfield, or even the offense in general. Now that Brandon Aiyuk is finally out of the doghouse, all that remains is Sermon sitting there by himself. Shanahan generally will speak highly of a player if he likes them or expects a good role out of them for an upcoming game. But you didn't get that sense. He just talked about him like some measly depth chart player.

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It is unlikely that Sermon receives any sizeable playing time.

You would think that without Mitchell in the fold that it would elevate Sermon into a more active role on offense. But I believe it is going to be the Jeff Wilson Jr. show against the Jaguars with a handful of Deebo Samuel carries. For whatever reason, Shanahan just doesn't trust Sermon. It is bizarre considering he looked solid against the Packers on Sunday Night Football in Week 3. That was the last time Sermon received any love and that was out of desperation for the 49ers.

Against the Jaguars, there is no better time to let Sermon earn his stripes. This is a game where he needs to get his uniform dirty because he has been clean all year due to the lack of playing time. The 49ers invested a lot into Sermon trading up for him in the third-round. They need to get this rookie at a role playing level like they are with Mitchell and Talanoa Hufanga. Then again, the 49ers are putrid when it comes to getting their rookies and young talent rolling along.

If Sermon were to actually see more than five handoffs, it would shock me. He's buried so deep on the depth chart and out of favor with Shanahan that I think even Kyle Juszczyk could see more carries than Sermaon. The only way I see Sermon heavily involved is if Wilson suffers an injury. 

Other than that, it'll be quiet with Sermon on Sunday.