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Dixon looks like a keeper for 49ers

  • San Francisco 49ers running back Anthony Dixon (24) runs against Denver Broncos defensive back David Bruton (30) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Denver, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

SANTA CLARA — Anthony Dixon has found a sliver of an opening and is trying his best to squeeze through it.

Dixon, who seemed hopelessly buried on the 49ers' depth chart at running back when training camp began, has taken advantage of recent injuries at the position and has strung together two solid games.

On the radio, both general manager Trent Baalke and offensive coordinator Greg Roman sounded optimistic about Dixon's chances of making the final roster.

"I think we can look to (Dixon) to have his most productive season as a Niner," Roman said on KNBR.

Whether that's the case or whether they are merely encouraging Dixon, who promises to get the most carries in today's exhibition finale against San Diego, remains to be seen. After releasing 12 players Monday, the 49ers must say goodbye to 22 more Friday to reach the 53-man limit.

Dixon led all rushers Sunday in Denver with 58 yards on 13 carries, including a 26-yard touchdown run in the third quarter in which he followed key blocks by fullback Will Tukuafu and pulling guard Derek Hall.

Earlier in the game, Dixon had followed a Tukuafu block to the outside for a minimal gain. When he returned to the sideline, position coach Tom Rathman told him to break inside the next time, and that's what Dixon did.

"It was wide open," he said.

The 233-pound Dixon also helped his chances by volunteering to play fullback when he became frustrated by the number of carries he was getting in practice earlier this summer. He noted he had two "pancake" blocks from the position against the Broncos.

"We always talk about in the (meeting) room, what you put on film is your signature," Dixon said. "I sign my name by whatever I put on film, and that's what I think about when I go out there."


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