The 49ers had their first “live” tackling session of the offseason on Friday, a first-and-goal drill that mostly incorporated running plays.
When the second-team offense was on the field, running backs Jewel Hampton and Alfonso Smith got the carries. When the first teamers got their chance, the tailback was Carlos Hyde. None of them scored; the 49ers defense won the session overall.
Frank Gore, of course, is the team’s top runner. But the 49ers aren’t going to risk a tangle-in-the-pile type of injury on Aug. 1. The sequence suggested what everyone assumed when Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James went down with injuries: Hyde is now the top backup, and there’s a good chance he starts Thursday’s preseason opener.
That was supported by the release of the team’s depth chart in advance of the game against the Ravens. Keep in mind that the public relations staff, not the coaches, compile this chart. But it mostly lines up with what we’ve been seing at practice. A * denotes player who is injured or not expected to play Thursday.
My comments: I think Wylie and Ellington probably will get the first shot at punt returns ... Dial hasn’t played much NT to this point, but likely will depending on the severity of Dorsey’s injury. ... I saw Skov playing more “Jack” linebacker.