The San Francisco 49ersLaMichael James has been working hard this offseason to improve his conditioning and his speed, as he looks to secure snaps as a backup for starting tailback Frank Gore. James is going into his second season with the Niners and has the benefit of his first off-season NFL training camp to work on his game and improve his skill set. So far, it’s paying off.

 

According to the 49ers website', James has been hard at work this off-season in the weight room and on the practice field, resulting in an increase in his explosiveness at the line of scrimmage and a ten pound muscle gain on his frame. According to the same article, James is quoted as saying “I’m way more explosive.  I always felt that I was long-fast.  I didn’t really know how explosive I was at the point of attack.  I really worked hard at that, just being more explosive.”

 

With Frank Gore needing to be spelled for occasional breaks and fourth round pick, Marcus Lattimore not expected to play this season, as he continues to rehabilitate from a knee injury, a good number of carries will be there this season for James and third year back, Kendall Hunter.

 

James showed flashes of his skill, but failed to record a rushing touchdown after being placed in the backup tailback role late last season, after Hunter sustained a season-ending injury to his achilles. Hunter appears to have recovered well and the battle between Hunter and James is expected to be an intense competition. James also gives the 49ers added value on special teams.  James had significant success on kickoff returns last year and has been working on punt returns in training camp.

 

Regardless of the outcome of his competition with Hunter to be the main backup tailback, James welcomes the opportunity to help the 49ers return to the Super Bowl this year.   

“Any opportunity to get the ball in my hands, I’m all for it - catching the ball, running the ball, punts.  No matter what it is, I’m all for it.  I just want to help the team win any way I can.”Look for LaMichael James and his new-found explosiveness, to have a big impact on the San Francisco 49ers throughout the 2013 season.