With Matt Breida unlikely to suit up for Monday’s game against the Packers, the 49ers auditioned several running backs Tuesday. Veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer reports that the team worked out Matthew Dayes, Andre Ellington, Jeremy McNichols (as was reported Monday), Shane Vereen and Charcandrick West. The 49ers ended up adding Dayes to their practice squad.
While Breida was able to avoid a high ankle sprain, he’ll likely miss Monday’s contest. With Jerick McKinnon already out for the season, this leaves the 49ers with a pair of healthy running backs: Alfred Morris and Raheem Mostert. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the team could end up promoting Jeff Wilson from the practice squad for some extra depth, or maybe they’ll look outside the organization for reinforcement.
Breida has stepped up during McKinnon’s absence, compiling 369 rushing yards and one touchdown on 49 carries. His 7.5 yards per attempt is currently the best mark in the NFL, and he’s yet to commit a fumble this season. On the flip side, Morris and Mostert have been underwhelming, combining for 3.5 yards per carry.
The 49ers may be willing to ride it out with Morris as their starting running back, especially since the majority of the auditioners have served as third-down backs throughout their careers. Vereen was the most productive in 2017, as he hauled in 44 receptions for 253 yards, and he also had another 164 rushing yards on 45 carries. West finished last season with 27 receptions in 13 games with the Chiefs, while Ellington had 39 receptions during his stints with the Cardinals and Texans.