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RB LaMichael James Steps up in Pass-protection

Posted Aug 25, 2014

In his first game action since dislocating his right elbow during a blitz pickup drill last month, the 49ers running back didn’t back down from contact. In fact, he welcomed it.

LaMichael James isn’t afraid to get back on the proverbial horse. The San Francisco 49ers running back made that clear on Sunday.

In his first game action since dislocating his right elbow during a blitz-pickup drill last month, James didn’t back down from pass-protection contact. In fact, he welcomed it.

“I just wanted to go out there and get hit a lot,” James said. “I wanted to see how it would hold up, how it felt after the game and what I can and can’t do wearing an elbow brace.”

James passed his litmus test, executing a couple of blocks in the backfield sprinkled around his seven carries against the San Diego Chargers.

“I’m proving to all of y’all that I can pass-protect,” James said. “Everybody that doubts me, I take it personal. It’s something that I really wanted to work on ever since I got here. Without pass-blocking a lot at Oregon, it was probably one of the weaknesses in my game at the beginning, so I take it very serious.”

That desire to develop has apparently paid off as Jim Harbaugh complimented James’ growth.

“He’s definitely improved,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “He’s always been a tough kid, he’s always stuck his nose in there, but (with the) amount of reps, technique, fundamentals and coaching, you’re seeing improvement.”

As for his running, Harbaugh thought his tailback took the ball too wide early in the game, but James “got up to speed quickly" once he shook off the rust.

James said he recognized there’s room for progress in his pass-protection game, but when asked if he sees it as a weakness still, he emphatically responded, “Nope.”

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