Thursday I wrote about the possibility that Running Back Anthony Dixon was on the hot seat with the 49ers. It seems that the Harbaugh regime and the Mike Singletary regime have something in common. That is frustration over Dixon’s habit of dancing around and not running with power. The 49ers drafted Dixon to be a power runner and after leading the NFL in preseason rushing yards his rookie season he seemed to have some promise.
He soon fell out of favor however with the coaching staff and rarely saw the field even after star RB Frank Gore was lost for the season with a hip injury. After just 1 game it was clear that veteran RB Brian Westbrook was far superior in all facets of the game even power running, a facet Dixon should easily have on him considering his clear advantage in the size department.
Westbrook proved to be solid in the run game, pass protection and receiving the football last season. He rarely saw the field when Gore was healthy and still kept a positive attitude and didn’t become a distraction. His return was left open ended at the end of the season but the team showed no interest in resigning him in the offseason. While Westbrook has worked out for a couple teams no one has shown any real interest not even the Philadelphia Eagles who were looked into for possible tampering when Westbrook openly admitted to discussing his eventual return to the Eagles with Andy Reid while still employed by the 49ers.
You can debate that the 49ers were just working out those no name players to put pressure on Dixon which he has openly stated got his attention and you maybe right. After all the team has worked out several players at many positions during the season, it could have just been a look see.
If the 49ers are serious about improving the depth of the RB position at Dixon’s expense all they need to do is watch tape of the tail end of last season and give Westbrook a call. None of the guys mentioned above that the team worked out are near Westbrook’s caliber. If the team is ready to cut Dixon loose why not add a veteran that knows the West Coast Offense and has played with the vast majority of this team? Running back depth might not seem like a concern now and it’s not. Frank Gore is healthy and Kendall Hunter is performing and showing a lot of promise as his backup. Gore has a long injury history and the 49ers could use someone like Westbrook if he were to go down long term especially long term.
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