It was last week when Golden Gate Sports’ own David Ochoa said the San Francisco 49ers needed to use running back LaMichael James more. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday that fans wanting to see more of James might get their wish.
According to SFGate.com, Harbaugh hinted James could get more playing time after the 49ers return from their bye week.
“He’s too good of a player not to be playing,” Harbaugh said, adding that James would likely see time on both the offense and on special teams.
James has been inactive for the last three games and even went to social media to express his frustration over not being used.
The second-round pick from Oregon in 2012 played in four games last year, gaining 125 yards on 27 rushing attempts and catching three passes for 29 yards. On special teams, he returned 14 kickoffs for a 29.8 yard average. In two games this season, James has 31 yards on seven carries and one kickoff return for 29 yards.
There has been talk that James might be a more viable option in the return game than current returner Kyle Williams, who had a very rough day in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a fumble on the opening kickoff and another kickoff that he returned too close to the sideline and stepped out of bounds inside the 49ers’ 5-yard line.
Williams is averaging just 19.1 yards on seven returns this year.
On the punt return team, Williams’ cautious nature is causing increasing frustration among fans. Of the 32 punts Williams has fielded this season, he has fair caught a whopping 20 of them. His 12 returns have been for just 61 yards, a horrendous 5.1-yard average.
James is a dynamic athlete who could inject a spark into the 49ers’ return game, a spark that might be enough to key a big second half for the defending NFC champs.