Williams (ribs) is getting cut by the 49ers, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports.
Though he's reportedly making progress with his rib injury, Williams missed out on his chance to push for a spot on the 53-man roster. Coach Kyle Shanahan famously lobbied for the Niners to select Williams in the fourth round of last year's draft, but undrafted free agent Matt Breida (shoulder) turned out to be the team's rookie gem in the backfield. It won't be too surprising if Williams draws some interest around the league.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Williams suffered a rib fracture that will sideline him for "a while," ESPN's Nick Wagoner reports.
Williams will at least miss Week 1, according to Shanahan, who updated the media regarding his team's injuries Sunday night. The coach continued by saying it hasn't been determined whether Williams will be placed on injured reserve/designated to return, but it's clear the Niners will have to make do without him until further notice. With Williams joining fellow tailbacks Jerick McKinnon (calf) and Matt Breida (shoulder) on the shelf for the rest of the preseason, Jeremy McNichols, Alfred Morris, Raheem Mostert and Jeffery Wilson will split backfield work the next couple weeks.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that Williams sustained a rib fracture in Saturday's preseason loss to Houston and will miss the beginning of the regular season, ESPN's Nick Wagoner reports.
The injury comes at a tough time for Williams, who was in the thick of a competition to win a backup role with the 49ers this year after spending his entire rookie season on IR. The team hasn't decided whether they will place Williams on IR, but the early out designation for Week 1 is not a promising sign. Either way, Williams' health may ultimately decide his fate for the second consecutive preseason.
Williams carried the ball eight times for 18 yards Saturday, adding a pair of receptions for another 14 yards in a preseason loss to Houston.
Williams was the second back to enter the contest after Jeremy McNichols started and played the entire first half. Both backs failed to impress, averaging under three yards per carry even with the Texans sitting their top two defensive linemen. Williams' inability to produce big gains in his first two preseason games should keep special teams ace Raheem Mostert in the lead for the 49ers' competition for third on the depth chart. That said, a lot can change over the final two weeks of the preseason, especially once Alfred Morris -- who didn't receive a carry after joining the team earlier this week -- enters the fray.
Williams carried the ball 11 times for 27 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's preseason win over Dallas. He also secured two of three targets for 15 yards.
Williams didn't have a strong game from a yards-per-carry standpoint, but he has received positive reviews in camp for an improved work ethic following a disappointing rookie season. The 24-year-old has been competing with Raheem Mostert for No. 3 on the 49ers' depth chart, but Matt Breida's shoulder injury could turn it into a battle for the primary backup role if the latter is forced to miss extended time.
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said Williams looks much better than he did last season, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. "I think [Williams] has a different mindset - understands a little bit more the standard of the NFL and difference," Shanahan said Tuesday. "Joe's come a long way. I think his body looks a lot better than it did last year. He put on a lot of muscle mass and he took advantage of the year of not playing."
Shanahan reportedly lobbied the San Francisco front office to draft Williams in the fourth round in 2017, perhaps believing the Utah product could push Carlos Hyde for a starting job. Instead, Williams failed to make an impression during the offseason program and training camp, ultimately landing on injured reserve after hurting his ankle in the final week of the preseason. The 24-year-old made a full recovery before the end of his rookie campaign, but the 49ers didn't lift his IR designation and opted to stick with Hyde and undrafted rookie Matt Breida in the backfield. Hyde has since been replaced by Jerick McKinnon, who signed a four-year, $30 million contract that includes $11.7 million guaranteed. Williams may have a chance to compete with Breida for the backup role, but a roster spot isn't guaranteed. The Niners carried special teams ace Raheem Mostert (knee) as their No. 3 back last season, and they also brought in 2017 fifth-round pick Jeremy McNichols to compete for a job.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Williams will have to "beat guys out" in order to maintain a spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster this upcoming season, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
Williams spent the entire season on injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury late in camp. The athletic back impressed Shanahan on tape, but the 49ers' head coach was clear in stating the urgent nature for the 24-year-old to beat out his competition to earn his spot on this team following the acquisition of Jerick McKinnon this offseason and the emergence of undrafted free agent Matt Breida this past year. Williams was even mentioned as a potential special teams candidate, which is a huge step back after he was expected to be part of a strong running back tandem alongside Carlos Hyde before getting injured. Plenty of things could change between now and the start of next season, but third on the depth chart seems like a best-case scenario for Williams, which would certainly eliminate any potential fantasy value for the raw talent.
Williams (ankle) would be healthy enough to play if the 49ers hadn't already made the decision to hold him out for the season, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reports.
The 2017 fourth-round pick was at one point viewed as a candidate to push Carlos Hyde for the starting job, but a real competition never materialized, and undrafted rookie Matt Breida appeared to lock down the No. 2 spot on the depth chart in August. Williams then injured his ankle in the preseason finale, with the Niners subsequently opting to place him on injured reserve. He should be in the mix for a role next season, though Hyde hinted at a desire to return to San Francisco with his recent statement about the team contending for a Super Bowl next season, per Curtis Pashelka of the San Jose Mercury News. Optimism aside, Hyde will hit the open market if he doesn't agree to a new contract with the 49ers before the free-agency period opens in March. Williams should be a full participant when the offseason program begins in April.
The 49ers are placing Williams (ankle) on injured reserve, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports.
This doesn't necessarily mean the injury is serious; the 49ers may just be glad to keep their 2017 fourth-round pick without having to use a spot on the 53-man roster. Initially hyped as a candidate to earn a major role, Williams struggled with ball security and learning the offense throughout training camp and the preseason, while undrafted rookie Matt Breida proved to be a quick study. Breida presumably will enter the season as Carlos Hyde's top backup, with Raheem Mostert holding the No. 3 spot on the depth chart. Williams is still an intriguing asset in dynasty leagues, as Hyde can become a free agent after the season.
Williams injured his ankle during Thursday's preseason finale against the Chargers, Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Prior to his early exit, Williams gained 53 yards on 10 carries but also lost a fumble. He struggled with ball security in college and again during training camp, perhaps thwarting his own bid for a significant role in the San Francisco backfield. With Tim Hightower also failing to impress this preseason, undrafted rookie Matt Breida has a shot to open the season as Carlos Hyde's top backup.
Williams ran the ball seven times for 60 yards in Friday's preseason opener against the Chiefs.
The 23-year-old took advantage of his limited opportunities by gashing the defense for significant gains every time he touched the ball. Williams hit the holes hard and also displayed speed on the edge on a couple of toss plays. His most-impressive run came on a play that had a disastrous start when the rookie dropped a toss, but he picked the ball up and burned the defense for an 11-yard gain despite starting the run from a complete stop. Carlos Hyde is the lead dog in San Francisco's backfield, but a strong preseason could earn Williams enough touches to make an impact in his rookie campaign.
After a sluggish start to camp, Williams finally showed some life during Friday's practice, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.
After having a talk with running backs coach Bobby Turner during the team's off day Wednesday, Williams has looked like a different player over the past couple of practices. The highlight of the 23-year-old's day was when he made a decisive cut that led to a huge gain during 11-on-11 drills. Williams even drew praise from head coach Kyle Shanahan: "I thought [Williams] had his best day yesterday and then it seemed like today was better than that." The rookie appears to have reentered the conversation for meaningful touches, though he'll need to maintain the momentum he's gained over the past couple days.
Williams is off to a slow start at training camp, struggling to secure the ball and learn the 49ers' offensive system, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports.
Meanwhile, veterans Carlos Hyde and Tim Hightower reportedly have both looked comfortable in coach Kyle Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme. Williams still has plenty of time to prove himself and earn a role, but it does seem Hyde is doing his best to respond to GM John Lynch, who openly questioned the fourth-year back's fit in the new scheme during the offseason. This backfield still bears close watching, as the team's offseason moves hint at a desire to utilize two or three backs on a weekly basis.
Williams figures to challenge Carlos Hyde for the 49ers' starting running back job this season, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports.
Williams was drafted in the fourth round to bolster San Francisco's backfield, where Hyde has reigned as the team's unquestioned top option in recent seasons. Of course, that's only when Hyde has been healthy, which has been an issue over the last three years. Entering this campaign, the veteran is reportedly in fantastic shape, yet his knee injury from last season figures to allow Williams ample opportunities to carve out a role. With Tim Hightower and Kapri Bibbs also around, the rookie tailback is part of a suddenly stocked San Francisco group where touches will need to be earned.
Williams could have a chance to unseat Carlos Hyde (knee) from the lead role before Week 1, CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reports.
New head coach Kyle Shanahan made a strong push convincing the San Francisco front office to draft Williams, who was ultimately selected in the fourth round at No. 121 overall. General manager John Lynch initially planned to avoid the Utah product, but Lynch changed his mind when he learned that Williams' brief retirement from football during his senior season at Utah was motivated by the running back's need to deal with continuing grief from his sister's death. Williams rejoined the team after a month-long absence and proceeded to run for 1,332 yards and 10 touchdowns in only seven games, producing at a clip of 7.1 yards per carry. He then ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at 5-foot-11, 210 pounds at the Combine, where he also had strong marks in the broad jump (125 inches) and 20-yard shuttle (4.19 seconds). Meanwhile, the oft-injured Hyde is entering the final season of his rookie contract, having missed 14 of a possible 48 games through three years. Hyde has mostly done strong work as an early-down runner when he's been healthy, but the rebuilding 49ers may still prioritize Williams' development if both players prove to be deserving of roles. Offseason addition Tim Hightower also figures to take on some snaps -- particularly on passing downs -- as Williams only caught nine passes during his senior season, and Hyde has never been much of a receiving threat.
The 49ers selected Williams in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, 121st overall.
Williams is a strange case. After retiring three weeks into the 2016 season at Utah, he returned to the team in October and went berserk. In just seven games, he ran for 1,332 yards (7.1 YPC) and 10 touchdowns, showing skills he never had earlier in his career. At 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, Williams showed well at the Combine with a 4.41-second 40-yard dash and 125-inch broad jump. If Carlos Hyde's injury issues persist, Williams could find himself getting snaps as a rookie.