KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After making an appearance in six games for the 49ers in 2018, including starting in two, running back Jeff Wilson finds himself playing to prove he’s worthy in a loaded backfield.
Wilson made a nice case for himself Saturday night in the 49ers' 27-17 preseason win over the Chiefs. He led the 49ers with 45 rushing yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“He came back bigger,” Shanahan said. “He put some weight on. He runs more. His style is more like a bigger back, especially compared to our other guys, but he has always been that same weight. He came back about 15 pounds heavier.”
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Wilson sat out of the first preseason game because of a calf injury, but he has gradually worked his way back into the mix. This made his showing in Kansas City even more important.
“He got hurt early on, so we have not been able to look at him since he has been healthy,” Shanahan said. “He shows that he carries that weight well and he looks like a very similar runner to what he was last year, but when you are running the same and you have added 15 to 20 pounds, that is a good thing.”
Wilson gave credit to the entire offense when asked about his touchdowns.
“I was just trying to get one-on-one on the first one and that happened," Wilson said. "I had space. So, I took it to the outside and tried to outrun them. On the second one, that was all up to my O-line and the receivers.
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“Jordan Matthews made a great block that helped come off the back side and that gave me a good clear vision of the endzone. Kudos to him and the O-line for doing their jobs.”
Jimmy Garoppolo and first-team offense were much more productive in Kansas City than they were in Denver. Wilson explained that the momentum has been carried over throughout the entire team.
“Everybody is gelling,” Wilson said. “Everybody is getting a feel for each other. Everybody knows what to expect. Everybody knows what we’re trying to accomplish on offense. It’s all going in one direction and we’re going to try to keep that going.”
With Wilson stepping up his productivity, Shanahan knows the decisions he will have to make whittling down the roster to 53 players, will be even more difficult.
“I think he ran pretty well in this game tonight,” Shanahan said. “I think he ran well last week and we will see how he does in this final one. We will have to make a decision on a bunch of guys.”