Why Elijah Mitchell Didn't Play in the 49ers' Win Against the Rams

why elijah mitchell didn't play in the 49ers' win against the rams


Week 2 was another dominant day for Christian McCaffrey.

The Rams struggled to stop him for most of the contest. However, what did become apparent was the energy of McCaffrey. He looked like he was running out of gas towards the end. It makes sense considering he received 100 percent of the snaps.

Running McCaffrey into the ground like that is not wise for the longevity of the season. The 49ers have Elijah Mitchell behind McCaffrey who is more than adequate to keep the offense afloat in a rotational capacity. There is zero reason for McCaffrey to receive all the carries, while Mitchell remains a sideline spectator.

On a conference call on Monday, Kyle Shanahan explained why Mitchell didn’t play in the 49ers’ win against the Rams.

“We’ve definitely got to get Elijah in there more and do better with our rotation than we did yesterday,” said Shanahan. “That wasn’t the plan going in. It just ended up that way and I’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Shanahan is taking accountability for Mitchell’s inactivity and rightfully so. It falls on him. If he wanted McCaffrey to catch a breather and let Mitchell get a few carries, then he easily could have done so. I’d suspect that Shanahan totally didn’t even think of Mitchell because he was so locked into the game. It’s not like the 49ers were having immense success offensively. The game was a tight one for the majority of the time.

“Usually calling plays, you can ask for guys specifically on certain plays, as a play caller,” said Shanahan. “But no, you’re not keeping guys fresh and rotating and doing stuff like that. Position coaches do that. For him not to get in, I definitely should have noticed and asked for him.”

McCaffrey, as great as he is, could benefit from having his carries shared. The 49ers have a rich running back room with Mitchell and Jordan Mason. Either of them can do enough to sustain the offense. The 49ers could even benefit from the change of pace with different running backs.

At least with Mitchell, the 49ers know how talented he is. He was the former starter after all, so I’d like to think that the offense will be fine if he takes a few carries away from McCaffrey. The last thing the 49ers want is for McCaffrey to get worn down by the latter half of the season. Hopefully Shanahan learns from this and starts sharing the carries at running back.

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