Will Kyle Shanahan Acknowledge Raheem Mostert as the 49ers Starting Running Back?

Jose Luis Sanchez III

Raheem Mostert strongly believes he is THE starting running back for the 49ers.

He’s not wrong. 

Mostert is the clear and obvious best player at the running back position on the team. He deserves to have his name listed first on the depth chart.

But does Kyle Shanahan view him as one?

Mostert can make all the declarative statements he wants. It will all fall on deaf ears if Shanahan doesn’t share his belief. There is no better running back on the 49ers roster than Mostert. The very moment he started receiving a heavier workload, he optimized the offense. You can’t say the same for Tevin Coleman who is more of a filler to sustain the offense, not take it to another level like Mostert.

So will Shanahan acknowledge Mostert as the 49ers starting running back this season?

I would lean toward no.

Coleman is still Shanahan’s guy no matter what. So long as Shanahan has a soft spot for him, Mostert will have to settle for his typical rotational role as a No. 2. Roster politics plays a part in it. There is the obvious favoritism and the fact that he is the highest-paid running back on the roster. Coleman gets carries by default because of his salary.

By doing so, Shanahan is limiting his own offense. Why not use your best players as much as you can? I know he generally favors a platoon system for his running backs. But Mostert is a unique case that would validate breaking up that platoon system. 

Whenever Mostert carries the ball, there is always a solid chance of him ripping off a chunk of yards or even taking it to the house. It's why he lead the league with the highest yards per carry (6.0). With Coleman, you know it’s not going past five yards too often. It makes sense considering he only averaged four yards per carry last season. 

Mostert has a whole two yards better per carry than Coleman, so it kind of deflates the narrative that Mostert is a "system running back." Otherwise, why wouldn't Coleman and other running backs sniff those numbers? That is no coincidence.

And that’s what I mean by Mostert taking the offense to the another level, while Coleman just sustains it. Why settle for less? Just because Coleman was personally brought in by Shanahan? Sometimes coaches just need to bite the bullet and acknowledge that their own guy isn’t the best player. It's okay to be wrong about a player that you liked. Ride with the best talent and don’t think twice. 

Unfortunately for Mostert, Shanahan will likely still continue to give Coleman the start and a good portion of the carries. 

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Comments (11)
No. 1-8
bbruneauca
bbruneauca

Have to agree with Matt. Did you catch Trent Williams declaring McKinnon the breakout player on the team? Generally love your articles but this one is a miss. Will apologize if Mckinnon injures out this year.

Hackphx
Hackphx

Shanahan has weapons, not platoons. The Shanahan attack has been missing one of its staples since it got here. There has been no receiving RB. McKinnon has a pretty good chance of having a breakout, because he can run an entire route tree with an understanding of the QB’s timing, and he has the speed to scare LBs in the outside zone. Mostert has demonstrated an uncanny ability to shift gears into overdrive when he gets a sliver of daylight. Tevin was smart enough to see he was an expensive 2nd banana In both roles. 49ers are going to lead the league in TOP

Niner4life41
Niner4life41

I think Shanahan knows he made a mistake starting Coleman in the Super Bowl. With Mostert becoming a rising star in this league we can only hope he leads the team in carries this season. He only had 2 games last year where he had more than 15 carries and in those 2 games it was vs Baltimore and Green Bay he ran wild. Hopefully he gets a bigger load of carries this year.

Dallas9er
Dallas9er

I don't think it really matters in Shannahan's offense, who the starting RB is. It's how many carries in a game, and KS will always have the RB by committee philosophy. He believes they need to be kept fresh by using the committee.

Niner4life41
Niner4life41

Mostert needs to be listed as the starter on the depth chart. He was clearly better than Coleman. It’s a damn shame Mostert only got 12 carries in the Super Bowl. He needs more carries this year.. I also would like to see Wilson and McKinnon take more of Coleman’s snaps. Mostert and McKinnon and Wilson should be the top 3 RBs this year.

Slayer2020
Slayer2020

i thought the LA chargers coach said that he wanted Kaepernick to come to try out - training camps have started - anybody know what gives?

why not sign him to a vet minimum, incentive laden one year deal to see how he does?

Aje806tx49
Aje806tx49

Grant likes beating dead horses lol Mostert didn’t hold out Kittles not opting out your hopes are dashed Grant on to the next one lol

matt49er
matt49er

how do you write this whole article and not mention mckinnon?


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