4 challenging questions Kyle Shanahan, 49ers must answer in training camp

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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San Francisco 49ers, Trey Sermon
San Francisco 49ers running back Trey Sermon (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

49ers training camp question No. 1: Will the running back room suffice?

You thought we’d list Trey Lance here. Go ahead, admit it.

Lance essentially proved everything he possibly could have during OTAs and minicamp, and there wasn’t exactly a lot left to be desired. That’s a great development.

But we’d be kidding ourselves to overlook the reality of Kyle Shanahan’s offense still being a run-first system, and San Francisco demonstrated its seriousness about this by using a third-round pick on former LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price despite other needs being on the table (ahem, safety).

However, both Davis-Price and presumed starting tailback Elijah Mitchell were held out of minicamp with minor injuries, meaning reserve rushers like Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon, JaMycal Hasty and Jordan Mason got the bulk of practice work on the ground.

Let’s stress this for a few reasons.

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For starters, Shanahan will want to take pressure off of Lance, and a No. 1 way to do that will be to have a great ground game. Shanahan has had that knack over the years anyway, and that’s a plus.

However, perhaps in light of so many of his running backs dealing with injuries over the years, it’s been rare to see one rusher replicate success year over year in Shanahan’s system, meaning Mitchell might not be the provocative force he was a year ago in which he rushed for 963 yards in 11 games.

At any rate, the pecking order and depth chart needs to play itself out here in a big way once training camp hits.

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