With the abrupt retirement of second year running back Glen Coffee a spot opened up at number two on the 49ers running back depth chart. Rookie Anthony Dixon took advantage of the opportunity rushing for 100 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries in the preseason opener win against the Colts. To fill Coffee’s roster spot the 49ers on Monday signed former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. Westbrook will be a great addition for the 49ers. It early to say whether or not Westbrook will the fantasy stud of the past or if his injuries are too many to overcome to be productive. Westbrook is obviously healthy otherwise the 49ers would not have signed him but with his recent string of concussions he has a lot to prove.
The 49ers offense and more importantly quarterback Alex Smith thrived in the spread offense last season. Frank Gore showed that he can be productive in the spread offense but he is not the ideal running back needed for the shotgun. Westbrook made a fantasy living off of being this type of running back with the Eagles but again we don’t know what type of player we will be getting with Westbrook as he played only eight games last season. Dixon showed some worth in the Colts game but he will most likely be used in short yardage situations and on the goal line. At this point in the preseason Westbrook was the best signing the 49ers could have made to add experience and depth behind Gore.