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Anthony Dixon needs a huge summer to make the team
No incumbent 49er player may need a bigger summer in order to make the team than Anthony Dixon. He looks like the odd man out in a very crowded backfield behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Brandon Jacobs.
Dixon is a power back that does not always run with a lot of power. He has a tendency to dance around and try to pick his holes instead of finding a seam and blasting through it. The acquisition of Jacobs minimizes the value of Dixon as a short-yardage back, as Jacobs will get the bulk of those carries.
In addition, the 49ers signed running back Rock Cartwright, who can also play the fullback position. He is an excellent special teams player, which further reduces the value Dixon can bring to the 49ers roster.
Unless Dixon has a huge summer and exhibition campaign, or if the 49ers are hit hard by injuries to their running backs, I do not expect Dixon to make this team.
In 2011, Dixon carried the ball 29 times for just 87 yards. He also failed to convert a key first down against the New York Giants in the NFC championship game.
Dixon pussyfooted his way on a 3rd-and-1, didn't hit an open seam and was tackled short of the first down. The 49ers had to punt and the ensuing Giants punt resulted in the first of the two Kyle Williams miscues.
Had Dixon simply hit the seam, he would have made the first down and the 49ers' drive would have continued. Who knows what would have happened?
I seriously doubt that head coach Jim Harbaugh has the requisite trust in Dixon at this point and I would be very surprised to see him make the team in 2012.