Lets just make this clear right off the bat; this was the first game…of the pre-season. No matter what had happened, you cannot get too high or low. With that being said and instilled in your head, the first exhibition game of the year for the San Francisco 49ers was a good one for rookie running back Carlos Hyde.
The second-round pick in this years draft carried the Niners to their lone score for the night, which resulted in a 25-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. During the drive, the young power back out of The Ohio State University carried the ball three times for 34 yards. Hyde had rushes of seven,19 and eight yards while showing patient running and the ability to turn the corner for added yards.
Hyde certainly benefited from some stellar blocking by fullback Bruce Miller, tackle Joe Staley and wide receiver Stevie Johnson. But to Hyde's credit, the young tailback did not try and do too much by forcing the issue on his own. The 6'0" 230 pound back finished the night with 39 yards on five carries.
With Hyde's physique, he fits the mold of the Niners power run game of recent years but attention to how well he translates as a pass blocker at the NFL level will be significant. Long-time starter Frank Gore doesn't just receive respect based off his running abilities and longevity but has always been praised for his work ethic as a pass blocker. As a result, number 21 is still considered one of the best blockers at the running back position.
The 10-year vet did not play at all during the game against the Baltimore Ravens as Hyde filled in as the starter. Hyde was able to show off some pass blocking skills while backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert commanded the offense following Colin Kaepernick's early departure. Hyde was able to quickly pick up linebacker C.J. Mosley on a blitz and neutralize him as Gabbert completed a pass to Stevie Johnson early in the game. Hyde appeared comfortable and confident during his time on the field and quickly put the nerves to rest.
"Once I got that first carry out of the way, the jitter-bugs went away and I felt comfortable." explained Hyde.
Jewel Hampton relieved Hyde in the second quarter, accumulating 18 yards on eight carries. If Hampton doesn't put on an overwhelming performance, look for Hyde to start the remaining three games in the preseason as is expected.
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