Niners sprinkle zone concepts into rushing attack

With Frank Gore settling in with the Colts, the San Francisco 49ers are taking the opportunity to add some new wrinkles to their running game.

Carlos Hyde is expected to lead the 49ers' attack this year and the Sacramento Bee reports that new offensive line coach Chris Foerster has added zone concepts to a running playbook that, with Gore, was dominated by power-blocking schemes.

"We'll implement some of that stuff, like the stretch zone more so than we have in the past," left tackle Joe Staley said, per the Bee. "But we're still going to do what we've done well here. What's worked for us has been power running. It's what we know. We'll definitely implement all styles."

Even if the 49ers remain a power team, Staley said that zone concepts were a major focus of OTAs and minicamp.

During his time with the Redskins, Foerster saw success with the zone scheme, including a 1,600-yard campaign by Alfred Morris in 2012, a year when Washington led the league in rushing. That success may be transferable: 49ers beat reporter Matt Barrows noted that Morris and Hyde -- who is 10 pounds lighter this year -- have very similar physiques. Still, things may look a bit different in San Francisco, as quarterback Colin Kaepernick is not likely to take off running as much as Robert Griffin III.

The fresh material is part of a transition in San Francisco led by new coach Jim Tomsula and a new offensive staff headed by coordinator Geep Chryst. 

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses the Bills' QB situation, the Odell Beckham Jr. drama and unveils the Superstar Club. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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