Matt Breida looking forward to Tampa Bay return with 49ers healthy

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SANTA CLARA -- San Francisco running back Matt Breida is looking forward to returning to his hometown of Tampa with the 49ers considerably healthier than the last time they visited. 

Breida battled through an ankle injury for most of 2018 but still managed to carry the ball 14 times for 106 yards in the team's Week 12 match up with the Buccaneers. That game was also rookie running back Jeff Wilson's debut and backup quarterback Nick Mullens was under center. 

San Francisco is much healthier as it embarks on the 2019 regular season. Jimmy Garoppolo is at the helm and Breida is clearly excited to have the team at (almost) full strength.

"It's awesome," Breida said. "We were beat up last year and it feels great to go into the first game with a full team and I just can't wait to see what we can do."

One of the pieces the 49ers will be missing in 2019 is Jerick McKinnon, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve just a few days ago. There was plenty of talk about how stacked the running back room was during the offseason, and while Breida knows the team will miss McKinnon, he still thinks the talent level is very high. 

"I still look at it the same way," Breida said. "Obviously it sucks that we don't have Jerick, he brings a whole different aspect to the game, but we still have a lot of great guys in the room and I still feel like we have one of the best backfields in the NFL. It's going to be an amazing year." 

Brieda will share the workload with Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert. Coach Kyle Shanahan doesn't envision a clear No. 1 running back, but instead will scheme players into the game plan. 

"There are certain plays when we do a game plan on a Monday and Tuesday where we have a specific vision of what player we want to have that play, which would be any of the three guys who are up," Shanahan said. "After that, it's more of who's fresh."

Having fresh legs could play a factor in Tampa where the temperature has been forecasted to be in the 90s and the humidity somewhere upwards of 70-percent. Shanahan feels like each back can do the job. 

"There's not a run plan that I don't mind any of them on," Shanahan said. "Most of the pass plays you can put all of them on. There are certain guys you prefer more than others on certain plays, but we know that going in and those are the guys I'll ask for on that play."

Even with Shanahan's confidence in him, Breida still feels that chip on his shoulder from being an undrafted free agent. 

"Honestly I feel like there's always something you want to prove every year," Breida confessed. "For me, it's just to let everyone know that I still belong in the NFL, that I still love the game of football and to show everyone that I can be that guy."

One of the aspects of Breida's game that he's been focused on improving is his pass-catching ability. Over his three seasons at Georgia Southern, Breida caught 22 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. In his two seasons with the 49ers, Breida has caught 48 of his 67 targets for 441 yards and three touchdowns. 

"I feel like I've developed a lot, especially coming from my college where we didn't throw it all that much," Breida said. "It took me a good year to understand how to run routes, get on the JUGS, have quarterbacks throw to me and learn coverages. I feel like each year I'm getting better at that so hopefully this year I can even improve my game more." 

[RELATED: Five questions 49ers must answer to be successful this year]

Like most of the 49ers, Brieda is just excited to get the season rolling with a healthy team and a positive outlook. 

"Right now I'm happy the position that we're in, it's going to be a good year." 

Matt Breida looking forward to Tampa Bay return with 49ers healthy originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area