No. 1: Jerick McKinnon’s Fresh Legs
One thing McKinnon has that the benefit of his stablemates, Coleman and Raheem Mostert, don’t is fresh legs. Yes, McKinnon is coming off of an injury, but his teammates just came off of an extended season in which they played 19 games.
McKinnon has been rehabbing for the last two seasons and hasn’t had the general running back fatigue that a whole season can put on one’s limbs.
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Coleman and Mostert each carried the ball 137 times during the regular season. Even though that’s not as much as maybe some other backs in the league, they both put mileage on their bodies as they both rushed for 500-plus yards (Mostert with 700-plus yards).
McKinnon not having that added physical toll of the last two seasons should bode well for the 49ers. He has the freshest legs in the running back group, and after sitting out for two seasons he is hungry.
In a recent press conference, McKinnon mentioned the fact he didn’t make it through the last two training camps. The fact that he had in this one made things seem positive.
“The whole way through has been a smooth process,” McKinnon stated when discussing his rehab and recovery process with the training staff.
There was a lot of optimism and he was feeling great about the whole situation. He also mentioned that the training staff “put (him) in the best situation to come back this year and feel even better”.
The optimism is a great sign for McKinnon and the confidence in his comeback is an even greater sign that he can return and have his breakout year.