Friday, May 24, 2024

OTAs: Hyde and Seek

Carlos Hyde had high expectations out of Ohio State. A 2nd round pick for the San Francisco 49ers, Hyde was to be the heir to the throne replacing future hall-of-famer Frank Gore. Unfortunately, it hasn’t panned out that way.

Hyde’s Tenure In San Fran

Carlos Hyde was drafted to be the next great running back in San Francisco. After the many years future hall-of-famer Frank Gore gave the 49ers, they envisioned Hyde being the next bell cow to take over the team.

Hyde very much looked like that guy his rookie year. After debuting with a 7-50-1 line, he averaged a rock solid 4.0 YPC that season, accounting for many explosive plays. Hyde gleamed with promise all year long filling San Francisco with confidence for the future.

2015 came along and Carlos Hyde’s number was called. After Frank Gore’s tenure in The Bay was over, he headed over to Indianapolis, leaving Hyde as the alpha dog on San Fran.

Hyde answered the bell. On week 1 Hyde went berserk. He put up a ridiculous 168 yards and 2 TDs with an insane 6.5 YPC. San Fran looked to hit a gem with Hyde. Unfortunately, the rest of the season didn’t pan out the way they had hoped.

After Hyde’s explosive start to the season, you see his numbers falter. Besides the 93 yard outburst, Hyde failed to record higher than a 3.64 YPC in any game. Hyde struggled week after week with inconsistent usage and unproductive production. This coupled with his obvious lack of prowess in the passing game claimed the season a bust.

On Oct 11, Hyde suffered a pedal foot fracture. He played through it for the next 2 weeks before being shut down for the last 9 games of the season.

Hyde’s sophomore season ended with a 115-470-3 line in 7 games, a solid 4.1 YPC. While the stats do not look so bad, keep in mind Hyde’s insane week 1. If you factor out that 1st game of the season, Hyde ended with an abysmal 3.39 YPC. Not the mark you want to see from your bell cow. The 49ers were admittedly concerned with Hyde’s play but chalked it up to inexperience in hopes that Hyde would develop further.

2016 came about and a healthy Carlos Hyde was ready to take on the NFL.

Carlos Hyde week one king

Hyde had a fantastic season opener. He gained 88 yards and 2 TDs while the 49ers stomped the Panthers 28-0. Hyde had a relatively solid season before a shoulder A/C joint sprain knocked him out for 2 weeks in October.

You could see Hyde was not completely healthy after returning with his paltry 13 carries, 14 yards effort against the Cardinals. Hyde went on to have some stellar games mixed in with some lackluster efforts the rest of the season. Most notably was his torching of the New York Jets with 17 carries and 193 yards, holding an elite 11.35 YPC. Hyde ended the season playing 13 games with a 217-988-6 line with a career-high 4.6 YPC. Just shy of a 1000 yard season, Hyde was on the border of becoming something great.

At this point there was only one thing was definite about Carlos Hyde. He is the king of week 1. After dominating the 1st week his first 3 seasons, that was about the only thing anyone could be sure to expect from Hyde. In Hyde’s 4th year, the script was set up a little differently. Gifted offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, was set to be the new head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan has done a marvelous job of boosting great seasons out of guys like Alfred Morris, Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman. Carlos Hyde would be his next project. Hyde also had another thing on his plate. UDFA rookie RB Matt Breida, who impressed all summer, was breathing down Hyde’s neck. In a contract year, Hyde was ready to show the 49ers what he had.

Hyde had an interesting season, to say the least. You once again you see the odd usage and inconsistent play from Hyde. He averaged a pedestrian 3.9 YPC despite playing in Shanahan’s running back-friendly scheme. But despite that, there were positives to his season. This was Hyde’s healthiest season playing in all 16 games for the first time. Hyde set a career-high 8 TDs as well as a career-high 59 receptions. While he did catch 59 balls, he checked in with an underwhelming 5.9 YPR. It seemed for every good thing, you could find a fault in Hyde’s season. It was a very up-and-down season without a doubt.

Carlos Hyde’s career to this point can only be described as inconsistent, injury-ridden, and simply just obscure. After Hyde’s rollercoaster of a career in San Fran so far, it seemed like he was destined to leave the 49ers.

And so he has.

Hyde With The Browns

On March 14th, the Cleveland Browns signed Carlos Hyde to a three-year, $15 million contract, making him a top-eight-paid running back in the NFL. Hyde will be entering a tough situation in Cleveland. The Browns were rated as the no. 14 offensive line by PFF in 2017. Now take into consideration that Joe Thomas, debatably the best-left tackle in the NFL, has retired from the NFL and you conclude that blocking unit that could struggle this season.

Coach Hue Jackson will not help matters for Hyde. Former Browns RB Isaiah Crowell seemed to shine at times and falter at others with Jackson coaching. In 2016, Crowell excelled in Jackson’s scheme, averaging an elite 4.8 YPC, yet only received 198 carries and nearly missed a 1000 yard season. Hue Jackson has shown a serious propensity to underuse his players. It’s fair to wonder if he will do the same with Hyde.

The Browns carry elite 3rd down back Duke Johnson Jr.. Johnson is sure to steal almost all passing down snaps from Hyde as Johnson is an excellent receiver while Hyde struggles in that aspect. Johnson is an excellent 3rd down/change-of-pace back, while Hyde should secure all the early down/goal line carries. Or will he…?

Insert the 5’10” 225 lbs, Nick Chubb. The Browns spent their no. 35 overall pick on the masterful running back from Georgia. Chubb is a dynamic runner. A perfect blend of power and speed, Chubb broke tackles at a prodigious rate. This while playing in the SEC, one of the toughest conferences in college football. Like Hyde, Chubb struggled in the passing game, Chubb often got pulled in favor of fellow Georgia stud Sony Michel. Despite that, Chubb threatens Hyde’s early-down status.

Carlos Hyde has been taking most of the first-team reps in the offseason and he is widely viewed to be the early favorite as the starter. Even out of the gates Hyde won’t be the bell cow. He will almost assuredly be losing snaps to Duke Johnson to start the season. Nick Chubb is clearly the better talent and will likely beat out Hyde for the starting job sometime in the season.

Chubb and Johnson seem to be the future of this Cleveland backfield. Carlos Hyde is an extremely talented runner, there is no doubting that, but unless he can get his career back on track, he will find himself as the odd man out quickly.

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