San Francisco 49ers: Will Jarryd Hayne be a Key Player?


Overall, the San Francisco 49ers were disappointing in their 23-10 preseason loss to the Houston Texans. It was the debut head coaching performance of Jim Tomsula, and the team certainly left things to be desired. Unlike the Oakland Raiders, the 49ers didn’t look clean and energized to start the 2015 preseason.

Perhaps the sluggish play of the Niners is a result of leftover pain from an offseason full of bad news, but fans certainly expect more from this team. It’s time for players to step up, and their new running back from Australia, Jarryd Hayne, made a huge impact in his American football debut.

Hayne was definitely the star player for the 49ers. According to ESPN, Hayne accounted for 120 yards against the Texans. He surged for a 53-yard run with 63 rushing yards total, he had 24 punt return yards, and 33 from kickoff returns. Hayne was quite the workhorse, and he gave the 49ers a lot to think about in regards to his roster spot on the team this season.

If you’re intrigued by Hayne’s potential as a key player, don’t get too excited yet. The San Francisco 49ers also have three other talented running backs in Carlos Hyde, Reggie Bush, and Kendall Hunter. Hayne, being the newcomer to the NFL, has the most to prove in order to earn a roster spot.

In regards to Hayne’s performance so far, Jim Tomsula said:

"“The things that excite me about Jarryd Hayne, the things that we’ve got to stay on, is when you get into those tighter quarters and see those little creases. That’s where the improvement is. That’s just where he needs to keep working. Not that he’s bad at it; he’s not. But we’ve just got to keep improving there.”"

Jarryd Hayne has impressive strength and speed from his professional rugby playing days, and his skills certainly translate to NFL football. It’s certain that coaches wanted to see if Hayne could handle the speed and contact from opposing defenses. When Hayne broke free for his 53-yard run, he looked just as good as any starting NFL running back.

In another ESPN article, Jarryd Hayne said:

"“I didn’t want to go out there and look like a rugby player; I wanted to look like an American NFL player. And I felt I did that.”"

That seems like the best mindset to have in Hayne’s situation. Fortunately for him, he proved that he can be a yard producer in the NFL. However, the reality of the competitive running back situation for the 49ers is that Hayne may not see many starting reps during the season. Aside from that, the Niners should definitely keep him on their roster.

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A large purpose of the preseason is that new players get a chance to prove they belong on a team. With all of the yards Hayne racked up in his debut, the Niners would be foolish to release him. The San Francisco 49ers aren’t in a position where they can be picky about the prospects of certain players. Jim Tomsula needs to prove himself as an effective head coach before he can judge the long-term role for Jarryd Hayne.

Basically, the 49ers need to appreciate any player that can turn their offense into a productive force again. San Francisco should honestly consider giving Hayne reps with the starting offense once the regular season begins. It seems like Carlos Hyde will be the starter, but he hasn’t really proven himself either.

If you look at this situation objectively, Hayne deserves to be the starter just as much as Hyde. Yes, Hyde has one year of experience, but Hayne asserted that he also has effective NFL speed and strength.

It would be a huge disappointment if the 49ers don’t find a role for Jarryd Hayne. He deserves a good number of carries, and he could be an effective punt and kick returner.

If the 49ers want to become a respected team again, then they need to be creative and find a way to make Jarryd Hayne a key player. Good athletes like him deserve an opportunity to be a star.

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