San Francisco 49ers star Bruce Miller is no stranger to changing positions. In college, he was an award-winning defensive end. By the time that he got to the NFL, Miller was learning how to play on the other side of the football as a fullback. With Chip Kelly taking over as the head coach of the Niners, Miller finds himself learning two new positions now. According to ESPN, Bruce is being utilized at both tight end and wide receiver next season.
Chip Kelly doesn’t really like to use a fullback in his offensive scheme. He might actually feel the position is archaic since it is not conducive to his high-octane style of gaining yards and putting up points. Kelly likes to use his running backs and wide receivers to spread the defense thin, while unleashing the tight ends to take advantage of the remaining territory.
Upon finding out that Chip Kelly was taking over as the San Francisco 49ers head coach, Bruce Miller knew that he needed to adapt if he wanted to stay with the franchise. Rather than asking for a release to find another NFL team that still utilized the fullback position, Miller opted to convert himself into someone useful for Kelly.
The conversion from fullback to tight end is not an easy one. Rather than being in the backfield and being able to see the defense better, Bruce Miller is now going to be at the point of the attack. He won’t be able to survey as much of the defense as he previously could. That’s going to be a major adjustment for Miller.
The switch from fullback to wide receiver is even more difficult than the one to tight end. Bruce Miller is going to have to learn to play in spaces. He’s also going to need to figure out how to gain separation from quicker defenders. Miller can have somewhat of an advantage by using his size and power against smaller defensive backs. It should definitely produce some interesting match ups for the San Francisco 49ers.
To his credit, Bruce Miller has made quite a bit of effort so that he can stay on the field for the San Francisco 49ers. Miller has dropped some weight to make himself more effective as a tight end and wide receiver. He’s also been working on his quickness and reception skills. Miller has spent a good amount of time studying some of the better tight ends in the NFL to prepare for next season. He named Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten as one of the players that he has been researching.
There’s no guarantees that Bruce Miller is going to make the final roster cut for the San Francisco 49ers. He’s got some competition at the tight end position. Vance McDonald is supposed to have a breakout season and be the replacement for Vernon Davis. Garrett Celek and Blake Bell are also two guys that the Niners have invested resources into. Miller is going to need to prove to Chip Kelly that he has a place in the offensive scheme.
Of course, the San Francisco 49ers could opt to keep Bruce Miller around to be a key contributor to special teams. He’s more than willing to play that role. However, it remains to be seen how long Miller will remain happy if he doesn’t receive a lot of time on the field. He’s far from being a selfish player, but he’s a very competitive individual.
Bruce Miller is too dedicated of a football player to not be on the field. It’ll be interesting to see if that will be with the San Francisco 49ers or another team in the NFL.
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