One of the main themes during organized team activities (OTAs) with the San Francisco 49ers has been the rehabilitation of several players who entered OTAs coming back from season ending injuries; one of those recovering players who can greatly contribute to the 49ers is Kendall Hunter.
Prior to Hunter having gone down for the 2012 season with a torn Achilles tendon during the 49ers’ Week 12 game versus the New Orleans Saints, he was serving as a valuable contributor, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
During OTAs, Hunter has been working and is on track to be fully fit and ready for training camp and the subsequent start of the 2013 NFL season. Knowing that Hunter appears to be ready physically, it is reasonable to expect him to be a valuable contributor for the upcoming season.
Now, with a healthy Hunter back in the fold, he will help fulfill two major roles for the 49ers. With Michael Crabtree having gone down with an Achilles tendon tear himself, Hunter’s return means that coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman can now make up for the loss in other ways.
As I mentioned in a previous article, instead of the 49ers trying to figure out how to compensate for the loss of production from Crabtree going down in the passing game, there could be an increased emphasis to actually run the ball more than previously anticipated. With Hunter back, the 49ers have three productive running backs whom they can count on at anytime.
Hunter’s return also gives the 49ers more potential to place emphasis on running the football, which can now be done with three running backs as opposed to two. As a result, a player like Frank Gore, whose workload and having him carry the ball less during the season will be a point of emphasis can be achieved.
In today’s NFL, you cannot have enough players, especially at skill positions like running back. With a healthy Hunter, the 49ers’ running attack will only be better and more diverse for the 2013 season.