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49ers’ Kyle Shanahan trying to find running back ‘pecking order’

Kyle Shanahan

The San Francisco 49ers have a very crowded backfield.

There is third-year running back Matt Breida, who had a very impressive 2018 campaign in which he rushed for 814 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. There is free-agent signing Tevin Coleman, who just enjoyed a terrific year with the Atlanta Falcons. There is also Jerick McKinnon, whom the 49ers signed last year before he missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL.

Obviously, that’s a lot for head coach Kyle Shanahan to jumble, because all three of those backs are talented, and there really is no clear-cut No. 1.

Shanahan says that right now, San Francisco is just trying to establish a “pecking order”:

“It’s more of [determining] a pecking order,” said Shanahan, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “Just let it play out. I think we’ve got a pretty good feel for all the guys. We kind of have an idea what they can do … we just want those guys repping. Right now, we don’t really care what the play is. I don’t even know who’s in, Bobby just rolls them in every play. We want them to compete and hopefully it sorts itself out. If it doesn’t, they’re going to make me have to make a very tough decision.”

Having too much depth is certainly a cushy problem to have, but at the same time, you want to make sure you keep all of your players happy, which is likely part of what Shanahan is grappling with at the moment.

The Niners won just four games this past year and have not made the playoffs since the 2013-14 campaign.