49ers leaning on return man for Lamar Jackson role in practice

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The 49ers have a couple of backup quarterbacks they like, but neither one of them is exactly what you’d call a threat to run.

In fact, C.J. Beathard strained his back a few weeks ago trying to replicate Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray while running the scout team, so this week, they’re trying something different.

Though nothing can really prepare them for the dual-threat ability of Lamar Jackson, the 49ers are using return man Richie James to lead the scout team in practice.

“Just [going to] be myself,” James told Jennifer Lee Chan of NBCSportsBayArea.com. “He’s a one-of-a-kind, so you can only be yourself. I’m already a dynamic player, so just the more dynamic I can be.”

James is averaging 7.9 yards per punt return and 22.9 per kickoff return this season, so he has some escapability. But he’s also 30 pounds lighter and five inches shorter than Jackson, leaving him to rely on his running experience as a high school quarterback at Riverview High in Sarasota, Fla.

“I was 80-percent run and 20-percent pass,” James said. “It’s going to work for today because that’s kind of what they do now. They run a lot. So I’m expecting to run, continue to run. It’s going to be interesting.”

James is left-handed (and not an MVP candidate), so it’s not a perfect comparison, but he gives the 49ers defense a closer approximation than Beathard or Nick Mullens could have.

11 responses to “49ers leaning on return man for Lamar Jackson role in practice

  1. Good luck with that. Lamar Jackson himself could lead the 49ers practices, but if you don’t have the defensive personnel to get after him or the rest of the Ravens offensive players, it won’t matter. We’ll find out Sunday how the 49ers match up.

  2. The Ravens are running a tricky offense right now for sure and it’s extremely well executed by Lamar Jackson. That said once he faces a superior passer and is forced to go shot for shot and throw 30+ times he’s exposed as mostly just a running back. Look at their loss against the chiefs as a perfect example. He became very desperate trying to keep up with Mahomes and threw alot of bad prayer passes that his receivers bailed him out on. I predict a similar result Sunday. Their defense won’t be able to stop the lethal combination of our run game plus Kittle, Deebo, and Sanders through the air. Ravens will be playing catch up all afternoon and everyone will be reminded why this high school zone read gimmick never lasts in the NFL.

    Niners 48 Ravens 24

  3. So in practice when they put the guy who last played QB in high school in, they will all know he’s going to run, and will probably be very effective in stopping his attempted jukes.

    Should prepare them exactly for what Lamar does.

    Ravens 27
    Niners 10

  4. Maybe Colin “America’s Favorite American” Kaepernick could be like a freelance Lamar Jackson impersonator. Sign a series of week-long contracts with upcoming opponents of the Ravens.

  5. I still say the best way to defend this RPO stuff is to have one guy hit the QB whether he keeps the ball or not. If you take the time to figure out who has it, they’re already gone.

  6. I’m always amused by how many hobby and amateur commentators think they have the answers for shutting down what experienced professionals do.

  7. @thewizardsrevenge You hit the QB with no ball in his had you will be eating penalties all day…. When he runs the ball you have to make him pay for it by hitting him hard….. Time of possession and catch the freaking ball…

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