Fullback Bruce Miller was not only Frank Gore’s lead blocker, he was – and is currently – the San Francisco 49ers’ third leading receiver in 2013.
As has been widely reported, Miller suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last week in San Francisco’s 33-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has been placed on IR by the team.
Stepping into the role in which Miller was so successful – the 49ers’ rank 5th in the NFL with 137.1 rushing yards per game – will be Anthony Dixon.
San Francisco also re-signed fullback/defensive lineman Will Tukuafu, but it appears Dixon will get the majority of snaps as Miller’s replacement.
Although he has never really been a lead blocker, Dixon welcomes the opportunity, per ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson,
“I don’t know anything about lead blocking,” said Dixon. “I’m ready to be the fullback,” he continued. “That’s where my opportunity is. So, I’m going to take it.”
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is intrigued by the prospect of having Dixon block for himself, and leading rusher Frank Gore, per the report.
“He’s someone who has no fear running through holes, taking on linebackers,” Kaepernick said. “He kind of lives for that type of thing. So, I’m excited to see what he can do when he gets in there. He normally has a pretty good feel for the game. To see him in there as a full-time guy or however they end up working it out. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays game day.”
San Francisco (10-4) can clinch a playoff spot this week with a victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the final game at Candlestick Park on Monday Night Football, or with a loss by the Arizona Cardinals (9-5) – who face NFC West leader Seattle.