Raheem Mostert was on the bubble going into training camp.
The 49ers running back was no lock to make the regular-season roster, with the likes of Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and even Jeff Wilson Jr. on the team.
But as the Niners head into Game 2 of this season Sunday in Cincinnati, Mostert could get significant playing time in the next few weeks.
With McKinnon gone for the season (again) and Coleman out for a while after an injury in the opening victory over Tampa Bay, Mostert is now the No. 2 running back behind Breida and likely to get plenty of opportunities against the Bengals.
Against the Bucs last week, Mostert made the most of his snaps after Coleman was hurt. Mostert had nine carries for 40 yards and had a touchdown play called back because of a penalty. He also forced five missed tackles.
Mostert has been an impressive special-teams player for the 49ers, but will now be counted on for more contributions on offense, too, says head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was impressed by what Mostert did against the Bucs.
"When Tevin went down, Raheem stepped right in, didn’t hesitate, broke a couple tackles for us and there were a couple plays, especially at the end, where I thought we blocked it for five (yards) and he got about 25 plus the 15 yards at the end of it (by penalty)," said Shanahan. "So Raheem stepped in and was really a pivotal part of us winning the game."
Shanahan says Mostert fits in perfectly, too, because like Coleman and Breida, he’s a fine receiver.
"He can catch the ball, he’s very fast," said Shanahan.
It’s likely, too, that Wilson, who had a strong exhibition season, will be activated before Sunday’s game to provide more backfield depth. Coleman is listed as week-to-week.
Sunday’s game in Cincinnati is set for a 10 a.m. kickoff. Oddsmakers have made the 1-0 49ers 1½-point favorites.