SANTA CLARA, CA – OCTOBER 07: Matt Breida #22 of the San Francisco 49ers carries the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter of their NFL football game at Levi’s Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers are 1-4 and coming off a defeat at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals, who had been the only winless team before their victory last week over the 49ers.

It’s quickly becoming a season to forget for the 49ers, where injuries have decimated any chances to compete for a playoff spot.

One of the few positive developments for the 49ers this season has been the explosive play of Matt Breida, who has often looked like the best offensive player on the field for them.

Due to the injury of Jerick McKinnon during the preseason, Breida was thrust into the role of being this team’s primary running back, and he has made the most of that opportunity.

Coming into Week Six, Breida ranked first in the league in yards per rush, first in rushes of over 20 yards, and fifth in rushing yards.

The production has been impressive when Breida has been out on the field, but he has had to exit games due to injury concerns.

Breida left last week’s game against the Cardinals in the first quarter after suffering an ankle injury and did not return.

Earlier this week it appeared that it was doubtful Breida would play against the Green Bay Packers on October 15, but Kyle Shanahan isn’t ruling him out.

Shanahan is now indicating that Breida should be considered day-to-day, hinting at the progress Breida has made just these past few days.

If Breida isn’t able to play against the Packers, Alfred Morris would be expected to get the start at running back.

Morris and Raheem Mostert are the only other running backs on the roster right now, so if Breida is unavailable they’ll probably call up another running back from their practice squad.

It’s nearly impossible to envision a scenario where the 49ers can win at Lambeau Field without their leading rusher and already missing their normal starting quarterback.

Questions Surrounding Breida Going Forward

His status against the Packers is more of a short-term concern involving Breida, which is coupled with long-term questions about his durability.

He’s only 5’9’’ and 200 pounds, and these injury issues since being given the featured role in this run game force the team to assess if he can really be leaned on to get the bulk of the carries.

Breida was already being bothered by a shoulder injury before this ankle issue, but nobody doubts his ability when he’s out on the field.

The challenge with him going forward is going to be to incorporate his talents while also ensuring that he doesn’t get banged up.

With how C.J. Beathard has struggled with turning the ball over, it’s essential that the 49ers have a solid run game against the Packers.

Without the guy leading the NFL in yards per rush attempt, it’s going to make the already difficult task of winning in Green Bay even harder for the 49ers.

Breida is a weapon that opposing defenses have to pay close attention to, and without him, the 49ers offense certainly appears a lot less intimidating.

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