49ers Reaction

Juice surrenders ‘offensive weapon' title to do-it-all CMC

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The 49ers are loaded with do-it-all weapons on offense. However, fullback Kyle Juszczyk was the original.

When coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took over before the 2017 NFL season, Juszczyk was one of the first free agents signed by the new regime. In describing the Pro Bowl fullback, Shanahan and Lynch referred to Juszczyk as an "OW" or an "offensive weapon," highlighting his ability to contribute in the run game, pass game and on the offensive line.

Juszczyk spoke at the 49ers 2023 State of the Franchise event last Thursday, where he was asked by radio broadcaster Greg Papa if he or superstar running back Christian McCaffrey will line up at the most positions this upcoming season.

"I think Christian is going to beat me in that category this year, he's you know, the new, shiny toy," Juszczyk joked. "This is Year 7 for me and Kyle [Shanahan]. So I'll get my time, I'll do what I do, but I think he's going to have more fun with Christian."

McCaffrey is one of the best, if not the best, dual-threat running backs in the NFL. In 17 games with both the Carolina Panthers and 49ers last season, McCaffrey recorded 244 carries for 1,139 rushing yards and 85 receptions for 741 receiving yards. The two-time Pro Bowler even completed a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in Week 8 against the Los Angeles Rams, and lined up under center in the NFC Championship Game after the 49ers lost both starting quarterback Brock Purdy and backup Josh Johnson to injury.

Juszczyk always knew McCaffrey was one of the best at his position, but never realized just how hard the Stanford product works day in and day out on the field.

"I knew he was very good, but you don't get a true appreciation for it until you see it in person, and one of the cooler things in this offseason, being the first offseason I've spent with him, is just seeing how hard he practices in this phase right now," Juszczyk added. "There's a reason he's as good as he is and he's so refined in his craft is because he puts in the time, he puts in the work.

"He doesn't take any day for granted, he really is the hardest critic of himself and that was one of the first things I noticed about Christian when he got into the building is that nobody wants to succeed more than himself and nobody's harder on him than himself. I think he's even got more to gain and I think this is going to be a big year for him."

RELATED: Why 49ers' RB room can reach sky-high potential in 2023

McCaffrey, along with Juszczyk and wide receiver Deebo Samuel, provide the 49ers with plenty of flexibility on offense.

However, in 2023, the veteran fullback is more than happy to surrender his longstanding "OW" title to his new teammate.

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