49ers' Jeff Wilson gets heavy preseason workload, but future in doubt


SANTA CLARA — 49ers running back Jeff Wilson carried the ball 20 times for 100 yards in San Francisco's final preseason game, but coach Kyle Shanahan said that’s not an indication of his chances to make the roster. 

Out of the 42 offensive plays that Wilson was on the field, he carried the ball in nearly half of them. Comparatively, rookie Austin Walter carried the ball 12 times out of his 27 snaps. Despite the disparity, Shanahan still did not think it was too high of a workload for Wilson.

“No, it’s not," Shanahan said. "I mean, it’s that or throw and we had two guys, we brought back [Brandon] Wilds for the week to see what happened. But no, you want to run the ball a lot in this last game and when you block well and you run hard, you usually get more carries, so that was a credit to him.”

Before the game, Wilson was not expecting that kind of workload. But as the game progressed, it didn’t surprise him either. 

“It was just like 'play ball,'” Wilson said. “If you are in, then you are in. If you run, then you run. I don’t even worry about carries or yards. I am just zoned in and playing.”

Wilson had the longest run of the night, a 41-yard carry that ended up in the end zone thanks to a lead block from quarterback C.J. Beathard. That type of block from Beathard did not surprise Wilson one bit. 

"That is the type of person that he is,” Wilson said. “C.J. is a selfless person and I kind of almost expected it. That is just the kind of guy that he is. It was just a great play.”

[RELATED: 49ers don't expect two key wideouts to be ready for Week 1]

Wilson knew that once he saw Beathard in front of him, he had to get in for the score. 

“It was just like a feel thing,” Wilson said. “I just felt the way the defense was flowing. They were flowing really heavy. I saw the defensive end on the backside, who was almost on the other side or in the center almost. I just made my decision to stick my foot and go backfield. 

“To see the cornerback sitting there, then to see C.J. behind me and for him to take off just gave me that extra power. I was like, I have to put it in now. If C.J. comes out there and blocks for me in the fourth preseason game. That speaks to his character. I was just trying to make his block that much better.”

With Jerick McKinnon's health in question, Wilson could be someone that the 49ers rely on again this season. He played in six games in 2018, carrying the ball 66 times for 266 yards. 

Contact Us