Carlos Hyde reportedly showed up to San Francisco 49ers practice with his right arm in a sling, the reeling effects of a shoulder injury he suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.
If the 1-5 49ers’ issues on offense weren’t pronounced enough in moving from Blaine Gabbert to Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, they all could slip further into disarray. Hyde is only averaging 3.9 yards per carry in this up-and-down season, but he’s been the focal point of Chip Kelly’s zone-scheme, hurry-up offense. The third-year pro has 6 touchdowns in six games and ranks eighth in the league with 109 carries. The next most prominent 49ers running back, Shaun Draughn, has just 26.
And if Hyde’s 3.9 average isn’t wowing, the alternatives have been far from it in a small sample size. Draughn and second-year Mike Davis combine for 2.1 yards per carry. They have 6 career starts between them, all by Draughn last season in relief of Hyde.
The running game has been the best part of the 49ers this season in terms of efficiency, as they rank 14th in the league in rushing DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average). It’s been a mix of inconsistent offensive line play as well as a grinder with downhill speed in Hyde. Draughn and Davis can bring the inside style, but neither boasts the speed that Kelly often looks for on misdirection runs.
At this point, it’s just a visual available for Hyde, but his status will be worth monitoring leading up to San Francisco’s Sunday home game against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad that ranks 13th in defensive rushing DVOA and is coming off a bye week.