Frank Gore in recent years has been the only productive running back on the 49ers and one of the few productive players on offense. The two Mike’s (Nolan and Singletary) ran Gore into the ground with Nolan not having any other offensive weapons and Singletary’s unrealistic vision of running 60% of the time.
Gore suffered his broken hip in week 12 last season which had a lot to do with his workhorse use and mentality. Gore has carried the 49ers offense since he became the starting running back in 2006 and he relishes that role. If you are to believe Gore’s super agent Drew Rosenhaus Gore is at 100% and fully healthy and recovered. I don’t doubt that Gore is getting better but excuse me if I don’t take Rosenhaus at his word especially with him recently saying about Terrelle Pryor, “I am not sure the NFL has ever had an athlete like this at the quarterback position.”
Even with Gore at or near 100% there should be concerned with him re-injuring his hip or any part of this lower body. All last season I called for Anthony Dixon and Brian Westbrook to be used more to rest Gore as the season went on. Of course that did not happen and some of it had to do with Dixon and Westbrook not being the most productive backup running backs. But the 49ers front office should have addressed that last offseason.
In this year’s draft the 49ers selected running back Kendall Hunter in the fourth round. Hunter will be a welcomed addition but I cannot imagine him turning into a reliable running back this season if Gore goes down again to injury which has been his story the last few seasons. Let’s hope Jim Harbaugh’s offense is truly West Coast in that it calls for more passing plays than running plays. Otherwise the 49ers risk injury to Gore again which would hamper the team’s success in 2011.