Bruce Ellington Doing All the Right Things


The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the preseason in the finale with the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, beating them by a score of 14-12. Absent from the game, Colin Kaepernick enjoyed a day off to get ready for the regular season, as Dylan Thompson got all the reps and led the team to a victory.

Thompson’s wing man for the night, Bruce Ellington, might have just ended the competition for the number-three receiver spot with an eye-popping performance of three receptions, but with an electrifying 70-yard touchdown reception.

Thompson and Ellington were on point for a South Carolina connection, as both flashed against the Chargers, and they were former teammates on Steve Spurrier‘s team in college. Not to mention another Gamecock, 2015 49ers’ rookie Mike Davis and former 49ers’ running back, Marcus Lattimore.

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Ellington was drafted by the 49ers a year ago out of the University of South Carolina in the fourth round, becoming the second Ellington to reach the league in recent years (Andre Ellington is his cousin). There were high hopes to see production out of the rookie last season after an explosive 40-time and great hands, but he failed to get on the field due to a handful of lower-body injuries.

Already with a questionable offense and a quarterback still learning, the 49ers lacked versatility last season with different play-makers. Built for a running offense, the passing game was non-existent and poorly conducted. While being sacked a league-high 52 times last season and fighting pressure in the pocket, Kaepernick had difficulties finding his receivers.

With excellent hands and speed, Ellington was anticipated to slide into the slot and produce on the short passes and screens last season. With a new offensive coordinator and offensive approach, offseason acquisitions to the receiving corps will open up the playbook for an offense that was gasping for air.

September 3, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers inside linebacker Kavell Conner (53) and inside linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) tackles San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington (10) during the second quarter in a preseason game at Levi

Recently in an interview with ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez, who covers the 49ers, head coach Jim Tomsula revealed he had a discussion with Ellington to work on some things to stay healthy and take his job a little more seriously. Since then, that little sitdown looks to have been beneficial for Ellington’s playing time, and may have created another weapon for Kaepernick to throw to.

Special teams was also lacking on an 8-8 49ers’ team from a year ago, and with Ellington finally proving he can stay healthy, and the emergence of the current 49ers’ talk of the preseason, Jarryd Hayne, both players should look to spice up a special teams which, could put the offense in a better position to score.

In the last two preseason games, Ellington led the 49ers in receiving yards both games, and will look to take that momentum into week one on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

Jerome Simpson‘s suspension, due to actions from last season, has opened the door for Ellington and Quinton Patton, who also is looking for some redemption and working on getting back on the field. Both have struggled to stay healthy, as leg injuries have got the best of them.

Rookie Deandrew White out of Alabama has also been in the mix, challenging Patton and Ellington for that number three receiver slot.

What should we expect from Ellington in 2015?

After an interesting and bizarre offseason of letting free agents walk, coupled with the retirements of the rock and foundation of this team, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith, all seemed bleak. But don’t count out the 49ers and Tomsula.

Having that heart-to-heart talk with Ellington could be the spark to ignite confidence for an offense that most definitely needs some direction.

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Maturation is important in any aspect of the life, and taking care of our bodies is almost a job in its own. Each and every day, we have to work hard and take care of it, and that is essentially what Tomsula was bringing to Ellington: a wake-up call, of sorts.

Kaepernick could use the help, and reinforcements look to be on their way as the different route runners can accommodate to the quarterback’s arm.

Adding Reggie Bush was not for glamour, nor does the team expect the explosive production from his New Orleans Saints’ days, but he still has something left in the tank. He can serve as a mentor to the young multi-dimensional players, and contribute to team offensively.

Having a similar skill-set to Bush, Ellington has responded to his coach and his play has proved it, as a sophomore season breakout looks to be brewing for a 49ers’ team that needs some positivity.

Next: Kaepernick's Preseason Peformance Reason For Concern?