Why Rice 'not a big fan' of 49ers using Deebo out of backfield originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
San Francisco's All-Pro wide receiver had his best game of the 2022 season, catching 6 passes for 115 yards receiving and a touchdown in San Francisco's 24-9 win over Los Angeles on "Monday Night Football."
49ers Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice joined 95.7 The Game's "The Morning Roast" on Tuesday morning to discuss San Francisco's win over the Rams and how Samuel's jaw-dropping, 57-yard touchdown catch and run reminded him a little bit of himself.
"First of all, the defensive back [Rams cornerback Derion Kendrick], he took a very bad angle because he tried to undercut that pass," Jerry Rice said. "For Deebo to make that catch the way he did, then to have the vision to take it to the end zone, it brought back a lot of memories because I'm saying to myself he made some cuts that reminded me of someone else back in the day.
"To have that vision, and really get into pay dirt where you drop six on them, I think it was a fantastic play. But it had a lot to do with his vision on the football field and his teammates helping him to get to the end zone."
Samuel, who debuted his "wide back" role last season against the Rams in Week 9, has maintained a similar role through four games in 2022. However, Rice is not a fan of Samuel's usage on the ground and believes it shows the 49ers' hand when the receiver lines up in the backfield.
"I'm not a big fan of him being back in that backfield because it's almost like the second he's back in the backfield, the opponent knows that Deebo is going to get the ball," Rice explained. "So it's going to be up to Kyle Shanahan to be a little bit more creative, maybe spread him out just a little bit more. Brandon Aiyuk, he made some plays, and they've got some weapons. They've got some guys that can make some plays."
In 2021, Samuel carried the ball 59 times for 365 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on the ground while averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Through four games this season, Samuel has carried the ball 19 times for 113 yards rushing and one touchdown while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Essentially, the 49ers are having almost the same amount of success with Samuel on the ground as they did the season prior.
Injury concerns certainly are valid, and the 49ers will look to keep their superstar receiver out of harm's way as much as they can.
In terms of effectiveness, though, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.