The 49ers can send their players workout equipment, per NFL rules, for use during virtual offseason programs where groups are meeting via video conference and working out on their own.
They sent Raheem Mostert an offensive line strip. The stretch of material that shows how the front five plus a tight end line up and the gaps in between them was a welcome gift that served to assist an area they want Mostert focused on while training in his front yard and around his Cleveland neighborhood.
“I was fortunate to get sent over from the coaching staff,” Mostert said this week during a video conference with local reporters. “They want me to work more on my aiming points for the run game. I’m going out there and doing those types of things.”
Precisely hitting his marks going through a gap is not his only point of emphasis. Mostert’s trying to become more versatile, working on his routes and receiving out of the backfield. That ties in with a grander theme of his offseason.
Mostert’s getting ready to take a beating. An increased carry count seems likely with his efficiency and overall success down the stretch, where he was the primary rusher during the 49ers' run to Super Bowl LIV. While Kyle Shanahan doesn’t necessarily use a feature back -- Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon will get touches and hot hands will be used in games -- it’s possible Mostert hits the 200-carry count during the 2020 regular season.
He wants to be ready if it does.
Mostert had 137 last year, plus 53 more in the playoffs. Taking 190 carries, plus 22 more as a receiver plus his work in pass protection, led Mostert to get physically prepared now for all the hits coming later.
“I’m just building myself up,” Mostert said. “I’m gaining some more muscle, which is kind of bizarre. I haven’t been able to think about gaining it in a while, but I’m incorporating it into my daily workouts in a way so I’m able to take those hits and be one of those guys getting 200 carries. I have to prepare for that. The only way I know how is to get bulky and get stronger.”
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Going back-to-back seasons with high-volume touches would be brand new for a running back who was a journeyman before he reached San Francisco who hung his hat on special teams and had just 42 previous carries.
Becoming a productive receiver would harken back to his earlier days at Purdue when he played the position before switching to running back during his junior and senior seasons.
“I’m running a lot of routes because I’m trying to elevate my game,” Mostert said. “I don’t want to just be one dimensional. I want to catch the ball out of the backfield it's something I pride myself on, even lining up from the slot position. I have been trying to get back to my receiver days when I was at that position in college. I’m getting back to everything I was doing then, mostly in that mental state.”
Mostert is trying to make the most of this odd offseason while his family remains strict in staying safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m trying to be smart, training while still staying away from people,” Mostert said. “Right now, it’s a mental state that I’m dealing with as well. Meetings are getting a little tiring at times because I want to go outside and run around [with teammates in practice], but I know the importance of meeting time and what it takes for not only me but the rest of the guys to step up and do what we have to do so we can be more fluent, get back to the Super Bowl and win it this time.”