No. 4: Running Back Alfred Morris
Veteran running back Alfred Morris had an excellent preseason debut with the 49ers against the Indianapolis Colts. Entering the regular season, however, he hasn’t been much of a factor at all.
Over the first half, the Niners were able to get away with this, thanks largely to the emergence of perennial special teams ace Raheem Mostert emerging as a legitimate and speedy threat on the ground. But Mostert suffered a broken forearm in San Francisco’s Week 9 win over Oakland, and he’ll miss the rest of 2018.
And with fellow runner Jerick McKinnon (ACL) also out, the Niners will be scrambling to find some depth.
Starting running back Matt Breida has been a nice story for San Francisco all season. But he’s seemingly hurt on a week-to-week basis, and he might not be the kind of runner capable of handling a regular 20- to 25-carry load per game.
Morris has to step it up in a bigger way to spell Breida more than at any point earlier.
To date, Morris’ 84 rush attempts have garnered a mere 294 yards, a touchdown and a pedestrian 3.5 yards per carry. He doesn’t have the speed to get to the outside, so he’ll need to make a notable impact in between the tackles.
It hasn’t happened much over the first half of 2018. It will need to down the stretch.