Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan: 'Not much of a difference between' Hyde, Breida

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USATI

Shanahan: 'Not much of a difference between' Hyde, Breida

SANTA CLARA – Carlos Hyde might be the No. 7-ranked rusher in the league, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan considers him an equal to rookie backup Matt Breida.

Hyde was the featured back for the 49ers’ first four games of the season, but Breida made his mark last week against the Indianapolis Colts. Breida played more snaps and had more rushing attempts than Hyde.

“We’re still going to keep them fresh because there’s not much of a difference between the two, for me,” Shanahan said on “49ers Game Plan,” which airs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Bay Area.

“I know they have different styles. But similar to Atlanta, whether it’s Devonta Freeman for Tevin Coleman, it didn’t matter much. There are some things that one does better than the other, and vice versa. But when you have two guys, it’s a good problem to have. You go with the hot hand but you also try to play both of them and keep them fresh.”

Breida was the hot hand against the Colts. While Hyde was struggling to find room to run, gaining just 11 yards on eight attempts, Breida appeared to be on the brink of busting a long one. He gained 49 yards on 10 rushing attempts.

“Getting that experience, as a rookie being able to play that much, it was an awesome experience,” Breida said. “And I’m just happy they had the confidence in me to go out there and do that.

“As a game went on, I felt the game slowed down for me and I was able to recognize things a lot more and get more in control of the game.”

Hyde had been in control in the 49ers' backfield up to that point. On the season, Hyde has rushed for 332 yards and two touchdowns on 73 attempts. Breida has 120 yards rushing on 30 carries.

Shanahan said he takes a lot into account when determining which back will get the bulk of the playing time. It starts during that week of practice to see which player is meshing better with the game plan. Then, he observes how the game is unfolding.

Against Indianapolis, Breida’s speed to get to the outside and hit the holes quickly was a better counter to the Colts’ large defensive line. On Sunday, the 49ers will go up against a Washington defense that is stout in the front seven.

Former 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has designed a defense that ranks 10th in the NFL against the run. One of his top assistants is defensive line coach, Jim Tomsula, who served in that capacity for many seasons with the 49ers before replacing Jim Harbaugh as head coach.

“Those are two coaches I have a lot of respect for,” Shanahan said. “I’ve played against them a bunch. And you can see them putting their imprint on the defense. Their front is tough to go against. They play a hard 3-4. They got a bunch of big guys up front.

“They’re pretty talented up front. They set the edge. Those guys inside don’t move much, and they keep everything condensed. They make you work for everything. You got to grind it out against them.”

Shanahan: Leon Hall's experience helps, but 'his strongest asset is...'

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USATI

Shanahan: Leon Hall's experience helps, but 'his strongest asset is...'

SANTA CLARA – Leon Hall originally worked out for the 49ers in May. He was brought back to the Bay Area in early September for another audition.

Finally, the 49ers made the move this week to sign Hall, 32, a 10-year NFL veteran with 27 career interceptions. The other nine current members of the 49ers' secondary have combined for 17 career interceptions.

The 49ers hope Hall can bring some stability and knowledge to a young, inconsistent secondary. The 49ers rank 26th in the NFL in passing yards allowed (249.8 yards per game) and 31st in third-down efficiency.

“First and foremost, you have to acknowledge that it’s young in the secondary,” Hall said. “And I’m far beyond the oldest member of the secondary. So that said, experience helps.”

Hall spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals after arriving as the No. 18 overall pick in 2007 from Michigan. He spent last season with the New York Giants.

Coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged Hall's experience is a big reason the 49ers reached out to him. But Shanahan said his versatility is also attractive after the 49ers had to piece together their secondary against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday due to injuries.

“I think his strongest asset is that he can play pretty much all the positions back there,” Shanahan said. “He played at a very high level in Cincinnati as an outside corner, being a high draft pick and doing that for a number of years. And he’s a very smart player who we’ve also seen play nickel. He played the safety position, too, with the Giants last year.

“We’ve had a bunch of injuries last week and we’ve got a veteran guy in here who is a great person, who works hard, who also can play all the positions and help us wherever we need be, so his versatility really makes for a big asset for us.”

Hall, who grew up a fan of the 49ers in Southern California, said he can find satisfaction from the challenge of helping a young team win its first game.

“They got some talent here,” Hall said. “I’m sitting at home at watching it. I can see it. There are some things, obviously, that can be tightened up. So that’s part of my excitement is coming there trying to help them get their first tab into the win column and go from there.”

The 49ers placed veteran cornerback Asa Jackson on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is working back through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Losses are helping Kyle Shanahan figure out who he wants to keep around

Losses are helping Kyle Shanahan figure out who he wants to keep around

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are in their first phase of rebuilding, as the team’s 53-man roster currently consists of 33 new faces.

Coach Kyle Shanahan likes the approach the organization has taken in building a team that won just two games last season, which led to the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. And there is a positive, he said, from the team's 0-5 start.

“I knew we had to really improve it before I came, playing against us last year and just studying it on tape,” Shanahan said. “So I knew we were going to have to add some resources. What made this such an enticing spot is we had the ability to do that from a salary cap standpoint and draft picks, so it was exciting.”

The 49ers currently have $62.9 million in salary cap space. The 49ers will carry over all the unspent money to the 2018 salary cap.

General manager John Lynch and Shanahan did not pursue a potential trade for a franchise quarterback, nor did they opt to select a quarterback early in the draft. The options should be better after this season, whether they pursue a veteran such as Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo in the offseason or one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

The organization opted to not pursue quick-fixes at any position, as they hope to build a roster with a young, ascending nucleus of players.

“You always want to win right now, but you don’t want to do it at the expense of hurting yourself over time,” Shanahan said. “It is a long season. What’s the best for you throughout 16 games and what’s the best that when you’re done with 16 games that’s going to make you better for the next year? You try to take everything into account.”

The 49ers have lost their past four games by a combined 11 points. As the 49ers look to the future, Shanahan said all this losing also reveals the kind of character on the team’s roster.

“A lot of people can fool you when you’re 5-0. Everybody’s happy, everybody’s perfect. It’s very easy to do everything,” Shanahan said. “When you’re 0-5, a lot of true colors come out with people and you get to find out the guys you want to go to war with and the guys who are going to be a part of turning this thing around.”