Is losing a part of the 49ers’ game plan?

Here is my Saturday column.

Are the 49ers trying to lose? Are they losing on purpose?

I’m not saying they are — let’s make that clear. I’m not accusing the 49ers of tanking. But, I’m wondering. How do you explain the way they lost last week to the Bears? It just doesn’t make sense.

That was a game the Niners should have won, or at least kept close. The Bears were decimated, missing 12 of 22 starters from Week 1, and they were playing their fourth quarterback of the season. Plus, their defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, is someone the 49ers should have known how to beat.

Fangio was the Niners’ defensive coordinator just two seasons ago and he was on the same staff as Tom Rathman, the 49ers’ current running backs coach. Rathman knows Fangio’s defensive philosophy. And Trent Baalke knows Fangio’s defensive philosophy. Fangio hasn’t changed it since he left the Niners. If anything, he simplified it to accommodate all the backups the Bears have used this season.

And yet, the Niners couldn’t score more than six points in that game. Couldn’t gain more than 6 net passing yards.

Can a team be that bad unintentionally? Probably, but let’s play a game and pretend the Niners didn’t really care about winning.

Let’s look at Chip Kelly’s game plan. It may have sabotaged his own team. Here’s what I mean: Kelly adjusted to the snowy weather by calling runs 77 percent of the time through the first three quarters when the game was somewhat close. And when he did call passes, he mostly called deep ones which led to scattershot throws and sacks.

A run-heavy game plan supplemented by deep passes is the exact formula to lose in the snow. Don’t take it from me, though. Take it from Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, a cold-weather specialist – he played for the Minnesota Vikings during the ’60s and ’70s.

“Here’s how you adjust your game,” Tarkenton said on KNBR this Friday. “You throw the ball. And you throw shorter passes … With my receivers, they have a great advantage over the defensive backs. The defensive back is scared to death because my guy knows where he’s going and how to make a cut. The defensive guy has to make a quicker cut and worries about slipping, which he does.

“So, I thought I had a great advantage passing. I didn’t go to a running game. I thought that was the worst thing you could do. You’ve got to throw the ball, but you’ve got to throw short passes and not throw the ball 30, 40 yards down the field, because the ball will flutter on you and you won’t have the accuracy.

“I played against Joe Kapp in Boston at Harvard Stadium, and I warmed up and I said, ‘We’re not going to be able to control the ball beyond 15 yards.’ And we scored 35 points. Joe — I think we shut him out — he was throwing the ball 50, 60 yards down the field. Couldn’t control it.

“You’ve got to pass the ball in bad weather. If you just go to three yards and a cloud of dust, you’re done because I think the defense has a great edge in the interior line.”

Tarkenton figured this out 50 years ago. By now, every coach at every level of the sport should know how to call a game in the snow, including Kelly. So, either he’s a total idiot or he’s tanking or there’s another explanation I don’t understand.

Sure, Kelly’s roster isn’t good. We can agree on that. But it isn’t that bad, either. It’s not the worst roster in the league — Cleveland’s is the worst. The Browns have 17 rookies. They’re a glorified college team. You can understand why they’re 0-12. It’s much harder to understand why the Niners have lost 11 consecutive games.

Let’s break the down their offense, Kelly’s specialty, which currently ranks 30th in the league of 32 teams.

The Niners have three good running backs, including Carlos Hyde, who has played 10 of 12 games this season. Last season, he played only seven of 16 games. So, that’s one advantage Kelly has over the previous coaching staff.

The 49ers also have six good offensive linemen — Joe Staley, Zane Beadles, Daniel Kilgore, Joshua Garnett, Trent Brown and Andrew Tiller.

The 49ers also have a good tight end, Vance McDonald, whom the team just gave a five-year, $35 million extension on Friday. He earned it. When the Niners’ quarterbacks target McDonald this season, their passer rating is 103.1.

And the 49ers have a good wide receiver — Torrey Smith. One of the best deep threats in the NFL. Last season, he averaged an astronomical 20.1 yards per reception, which led the entire league. When the Niners’ quarterbacks targeted him, their passer rating was 116.9. Again, astronomical.

But now under Kelly, Smith is having the worst season of his career. Averaging only 13.4 yards per catch on just 1.8 receptions per game. Has fewer yards than the Niners’ No. 2 tight end, Garrett Celek.

Smith is only 27 years old — in his prime. He should be having the best season of his career, especially under Kelly, a supposed offensive genius.

But, Kelly hardly ever makes Smith do the one thing he’s good at — run deep. Instead, Kelly calls deep passes for everyone but Smith, and makes Smith run routes he doesn’t run well, such as curls, comebacks and shallow crosses.

I would hate to think Kelly is losing on purpose. Losing just to get better draft picks or get Baalke fired. I would hate to think Kelly has wasted one of the final seasons of Joe Staley’s great career.

But I admit, I never have seen a head coach less invested in his team than Kelly is this season. Almost every day, he reminds us this isn’t his team — it’s Baalke’s team. And these aren’t his players — they’re Baalke’s players.

If the coach is not invested in this team or this season, why would the players be invested?

Why would they play hard Sunday against the Jets? They may not even be here next season. If Baalke gets fired and Kelly gets more power, how many players will fit Kelly’s scheme? How many will he trade or cut? Remember, these guys were picked by Baalke. All of them.

How many will risk suffering an injury in December for a coach who may not want them in January? Serious injuries would ruin the chances for these players to sign with other teams during free agency. Why would they take that risk?

When you watch the 49ers play the Jets — a team that’s dead in the water, a team the Niners should beat — ask yourself if the Niners really are trying to win. Watch how hard they play. Watch how the players on defense tackle. Do they gang tackle? Or, do they avoid the pileup after the play to protect their knees and ankles?

Decide for yourself if the 49ers are tanking and, if they are, it all starts with the coach.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

  1. You can’t lose as good as the 49ers have been without practicing. Only one team does it better, and that’s the Browns….

    1. Hey man no team would try loosing.u mentionex.fran tarkington.in 1971 october was kicking tale all over the field.in those days it was performance.the game.its too much news play on football other than focusing on the game.b.s.about standing for flag.player fights in a bar.but in actuallity.they should be home resting and studing their plays

  2. I dont agree with much of anything in this article. You have a vivid imagination though.

    Some major holes in your conspiracy theory. The Bears came very close to beating the Titans a week earlier and you aren’t anymore capable of scoring on a former DC simply because your RB’s coach was on the same staff and your GM is a wannabe Coach.

    The Niners lost because they were unprepared to play in those conditions and the QB’s were incapable of throwing any pass accurately.

    No HC is going to lose on purpose. There is nothing to gain from it and goes against every reason they are in the business.

    1. Agreed and the same goes for the players. In order to make it to the pro level you must be a highly competitive person. They also all have their jobs on the line.

    2. You nailed it rocket, I guess we forget that Kaepernick did get benched last season for being the worst QB in the NFL. I guess Grant gets amnesia from time to time

  3. Hyde has only been a good running back for the last two games. He finally decided to square his shoulders and run down hill. McDonald seems to be emerging but still a long ways from being really good. The o-line is hot and cold, the receivers are dropping the ball. Last but not least is the QB, what QB? The team does not have a defense. Kelly is not tanking and neither are the players.

    Mistakes and more mistakes by the players, is that on the HC, maybe but this is professional sports and such things as dropping the ball, fumbling the ball, off sides, celebration is on the players.

    Kelly isn’t tanking. You don’t change QB’s in the fourth quarter because you want to lose. You don’t call 2 timeouts late in the first half in order to get the ball back for more points if you want to lose. Kelly won’t jeopardize his self worth, integrity, self respect for a measly draft choice that is probably going to be screwed up anyhow.

    1. Given the weather conditions and being up by the score,of 6-0, I was scratching my head on those timeouts. The Bears wouldn’t have stopped the clock would have been happy to end the half down 6-0. We weren’t moving the ball and both of our FG’s were set up by Bears turnovers deep in their territory. Kelly may not have been trying to lose but those TO’s weren’t very smart.

  4. Why would hte niners know how to beat Fangio? The current coaching staff did not couch when Fangio was in town. Is not like Kaep or Joe Staley are putting together the ganeplan.

    1. I knew Fangio would try to contain Kaep in the pocket, and put heavy pressure to sack him. Mission accomplished.

      Where were the roll outs, the screens, the short passes, the slants?

  5. “I never have seen a head coach less invested in his team than Kelly is this season.”

    This is the most damning part of the entire article and it sure seems accurate when you listen to the words Kelly chooses to use.

      1. The team is 1-11. The players know they have nothing to play for but pride at this point and there is no reason for anyone to play through an injury if it affects their play. I’m not sure how anyone can decide how much the HC is invested when they aren’t there to see the work being put in. What is there to show he’s not invested?

      2. How can Chip Kelly be invested when the GM/Owner isn’t invested in making the roster better? Everybody talks about how broke Mark Davis is and that the Raiders can’t compete in the NFL without a stadium but yet they spent a lot of money to get better and it shows, and before you give Del Rio credit he never did anything for the Jaguars and in Denver(They won the SB with Wade Phillips at DC not Jack).

  6. Exactly who is tanking this team?
    How about Jed? By firing JH Jed won the arguement over a pouty, pushy, aho who did know how to motivate a team. Since Jed made that decision the world has watched his team and entire franchise spinning in the toilet bowl as it heads for the sewer.
    All the conspiracy theories that are spun about Chip and/or Trent can’t change or avoid that reality.
    Jed tanked this franchise, right after he got his stadium subsidies.
    Remember what Eddie said? Jed has a plan.

    1. Just a few minutes ago in line at a supermarket checkout, the guy in front of me points out some 49er merchandise and asks me with a grin
      “Shouldn’t this stuff be discounted?”
      Everybody in the area started laughing. A teen translated what he said for his grandparents, and they laughed late, and that made us all laugh again.

    1. Also wanted to add, the 49ers appear to have lost the will to win. Unfortunately, special interests and individualism have led to a lack of congruency and teamwork.

  7. ‘Decide for yourself to see if the team is tanking, and if they are, it all starts with the coach.’

    I beg to differ. It all starts with who is poached for other teams, who is elevated from the practice squad, and the inactives. That is all on Baalke.

    He refused to elevate Skov, he refuses to promote Rush and he refuses to activate Cromartie. Harris got only 2 touches all last game.

    Nice linguistic gymnastics, Grant. You bring up tanking without actually declaring that they are tanking, when everyone can see that a 1-11 team is tanking just by their record.

  8. “Is losing a part of 49ers’ game plan?” – No, but winning isn’t Jed York’s number one priority. Oh, he sincerely wants to win, but its not his primary goal for the organization.

    I’m not worried about skipping overpriced free agents, especially if a team’s still years away from the playoffs. Better to hit FA harder when the team’s just a few roster spots from being a playoff contender.

    Its building a stadium that screams “the heck with home field advantage, I want to sell concert tickets, luxury boxes and 35-35 corporate reserved seating.”

    1. Agree, it appears revenue is the priority with ownership before winning. Therefore, ownership should invest in wins, as more profits would be gained through participation in the post season.

  9. From a fan who has a lot of experience in this area I can say with confidence that the players have quit on Kelly. How do I know? I witnessed the same thing when Mike Nolan was here, then Mike Singletary and the ladder part of the season with Harbaugh. The tell tale signs: missed tackles, penalties, linemen not helping one another up and of course, not executing the game plan.
    If ownership is going to give this regime another chance, no way am I purchasing the NFL Sunday ticket and watch another season of this!

    1. Prime,
      Are you saying you’re a quitter?

      Sorry but your statement left you wide open.

      In general players don’t quit… but once they realize they have no shot at the playoffs you often don’t see the same kind of effort either. Players that give full effort every play are exceptionally rare.

  10. They don’t need to try and lose. They do perfectly fine just losing without trying. This is their culture that the Yorks have created in all but the four-year period that Harbaugh was here.

    If their decision is whether or not they need to keep Chip Kelly and whether or not they need to keep Colin Kaepernick for next year Assures you this is not a one year deal being in the top five pick but a repetitive problem that will continue to happen just like the Cleveland Browns.

  11. You must at least wonder. Ponder was the best QB on the roster in pre season, and I don’t think we can say (with the exception of a couple of good CK games) that the position should have been a lock, not playing who looked like the best option is fishy.

    1. Ponder knew about 10 plays and the thing he did best was run for a TD. He wasn’t a consideration for being the starter and still isn’t apparently.

  12. Grant,

    Kelly is a great coach. His offense is humming, especially the passing game. Look at how much better Kap and Gab are under him. Kelly hired O’Neil, another great football mind. The Kelly Niners have played hard for 60 minutes all year. Kelly is a master of communication.

    All of that was sarcasm. Kelly is the worst HC in the league. He just needs 53 pro bowlers to succeed.

    1. Kelly reminds me of the proverbial
      one-legged man.. in a butt-kickin’ contest ..
      as long as Baalke pretends .. to be
      a General Manager …

      So-o-o .. why don’t we take up a collection to
      get Trent his bait shop in Minnesota .. ?

        1. Cassie …

          seems to be a better investment .. than .. say ..
          the “Fire Baalke” banner ..

          which was supposed to fly .. what ..
          a month ago ?

          (sorry .. Cass … frustration seems to
          be the theme around these parts .. lately)

  13. Razor
    If the Niners ever get relevant again and are contending in December, you should coordinate a game trip out here with The Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. It’s this weekend. Saturday is sold out, Sunday probably will be. There’ll be some serious air pollution at the fairgrounds I’d imagine.

      1. Razor-
        Hmmm. I ran that question through my brain and the response was:
        ‘Unable to calculate-too many undefined variables.’
        So, I consulted my 8-ball, which said. “Unclear, try again later”
        A guru said “Life is short, my son. Concern yourself with that in your next incarnation.”

        My real answer: Depends.
        (Depends on what?)
        Depends on everything! Who’s the GM? Coach? QB?
        I don’t know if/when the HC stays or goes. I don’t see a decent QB on the roster next season. Even if we draft a good one in 18, he’ll need a couple of years to ramp up…sigh.
        And who rebuilds the roster around a QB?

        So, long way around to an answer, probably no playoffs before 2020. You may be able to drive out here in your hover car by then.

  14. A bit late to the party, but my thoughts on McDonald – its more money than I thought he’d get, but still a good move. As I have said before, this team isn’t in a position to be losing it’s better players. Even though McDonald is only a decent player, he is one of the 49ers better players. And as Mid pointed out previously, he would have been one of the top TE options available in FA.

  15. So given the 49ers need a QB, and the 2017 draft is littered with spread QBs but not many pro style QBs, I started thinking about the 49ers offense moving forward. I have always leant towards pro style offenses, and tended to believe spread offenses are gimmicks and won’t last. However, every year more teams introduce more spread concepts into their offense, and many teams are finding success with their young QBs by doing so.

    So perhaps it is time I adjust my thinking. College teams aren’t changing any time soon. So most QBs coming out will come from spread systems. It makes sense to adapt your NFL offense to suit these players (see what Mularky is doing with Mariota, and how the Panthers adapted to Newton). Moving forward, it makes sense to build your team around spread principles, as it is easier to find players that suit such a system.

    What does this mean? Well, it means if the 49ers retain Kelly next year it isn’t really that big a problem in terms of player acquisition for future rosters if Kelly gets fired after next season. In some respects the 49ers can be considered slightly ahead of the curve with adopting spread concepts and adjusting their offense and player acquisition to suit the future NFL landscape.

    It also means that college HCs running spread systems probably are going to get more chances in the NFL moving forward. And some of them will likely work out. Smart offensive minds that are able to mesh spread concepts with sophistication to match the more complex NFL Ds will become more in vogue. Guys like Mularky.

    What it doesn’t mean is that every spread style HC will work out. Coaches that are stuck in their ways and beliefs like Kelly will probably continue to struggle. His offense is too simplistic. But that doesn’t mean the 49ers should abandon a spread based system altogether.

      1. Hmmm, really good thinking. I hadn’t thought of him as an option. Not sure what it would cost, but worth the 49ers investigating.

          1. Yeah, it’ll all come down to what the Packers think of him though. If they really like him they’ll probably want to keep him another year at least to backup Rodgers in case of injury. And sounds like they do. So he may not come that cheap. But certainly worth looking into. He has the talent and will be getting some good teaching at GB.

          2. He’s not an accurate enough passer imo. If they got him for a late round pick sure, but the Packers would rather develop him and see if they can get more in another year I would imagine.

        1. His final college season was poor where he tried to play more as a traditional pocket passer. Prior to that he was thought of as potentially challenging Winston and Mariota for top QB. Kind of like what has happened to Watson.

            1. I prefer Watson to Hundley, but he’ll also cost more. I think you are undervaluing Hundley as a QB fit for a team using spread concepts though.

      2. They thought enough of Hundley to trade Tolzien and move him up as Rodgers backup this year. Considering Aaron Rodgers is 33, they might be thinking of Hundley as the heir apparent. I’m guessing that it would take at least a 3rd round pick.

    1. Some really good thoughts Scooter, but I think the Spread will likely always be a gimmick at the pro level. There is just too much speed on pro defenses to make it a full time system. It’s best used as a change up of plays that teams have to prepare for imo. Even Kelly’s isn’t the same type of spread he ran a lot of the time in College because in the NFL the blocking can’t hold up long enough. Mularky has done a pretty good job with Mariota, but Mariota has become a play action QB because of that running game they have. There are very few spread concepts in the Titan scheme compared to what you’d expect from a Mariota led offense.

      1. Its not the same spread system as in college, but it is grounded in the power spread system. Which has really helped Mariota’s transition. Like I said, coaches that can mesh spread systems with some sophistication to match the more complex NFL Ds can be successful. And I don’t think it is going away. Too few pro style QBs being groomed at the college level. NFL teams will have to adapt.

        1. I agree we are likely to continue to see spread concepts added to more traditional pro offenses but I doubt we’ll ever see it adopted as any more than that.

          As to the QB’s, we’ve been hearing this idea that the QB’s aren’t getting enough training for pro style offenses at the Collegiate level for some time now and it hasn’t stopped the league from welcoming some young stars to the league who played in predominantly spread offenses. If a QB has the natural talent and good coaching, he can adapt to any system.

          1. Most of the young QBs that have come in and found success early have either had a grounding in pro style concepts or went to a team that has adopted spread concepts.

            1. Concepts is the key word. They are not the spread systems the players are familiar with. They all wind playing in a predominantly pro offense.

              1. Linehan was the one pounding the table for Prescott and had him rated right up there with Goff and Wentz. They brought him in pre-draft for a chalkboard session, testing his knowledge and memory retention but maybe more importantly, tested his composure by creating a tension. He was said to have accuracy issues during workouts and pro days, but had the arm strength. Best up the seam and struggles outside the numbers. He had the 3rd highest passes at 288 without an INT in the SEC, and he bested Tom Brady’s rookie record with 176 in the NFL. Coach Mullen was Alex Smith’s QB’s coach as well as Tim Tebow’s. Prescott had Tebow on speed dial and that’s why he wore #15. It seems Prescott is more accurate in games than in practice, and that’s why you can’t make a full evaluation until you’ve seen him in live action….

              2. Rocket, I think this is something of semantics. I never suggested full blown spread offenses like in college will take over the NFL. At least not in the foreseeable future. But teams are definitely bringing in more of these concepts and finding ways to make it easier on young QBs to make their reads and get up to speed by using systems adapted from spread offenses that keep their reads pretty simple and are about finding matchups and getting the ball out quick to the playmakers.

                Not many young QBs are being asked to learn complex pro style systems and thrown to the wolves. Those that are typically have that grounding already.

            2. I took Prescott off my board because of the DUI and it seems that was the elephant in every NFL team meeting room he visited. Out of all the interviews, Garrett pushed the hardest and created another uncomfortable situation, in which Prescott again kept his cool. Garrett went on to say this was another important part of the evaluation process….

          2. The biggest component of the quarterback evaluation seems to be an intangible. Leadership and people skills. Dak Prescott’s was compared to Tom Brady’s by Mike Woicik after being asked by Jones, “which ones stood out to you among the rookies”….

            1. One reason I think Watson is now being under valued. His maturity, leadership and charisma are very highly regarded from what I have read.

      2. To be fair to Scooter on this the I think the Spread offense is to wide a term. It’s kind like saying Pro-Style… what does it mean??? These definitions are far to inclusive.
        If Scooter’s argument is adapt more spreed concepts, that’s an easy yes answer. Almost every offense in the NFL is doing this. The Pats have added a spreed formation quick passes and have a lot of bubble screens in their offense. Denver even used the read option with manning a few times… not that he ran it but rather threw the ball quickly using this concept.
        One of the biggest problems the niners offense has is they have power run blockers who are not quick enough to execute Chips run plays. If you look at the numbers Hyde has some of the best numbers at yards after contact but the problem is he has one of the lowest yard pre contact numbers in the league. So Grant’s statement that the niners have a good line is simply not true. Garnett, Beatles, and Brown… are below average linemen.At least they are when playing in a system not suited to them.

  16. What should the Niners expect on Sunday? Jets will copy the Bears, keep the OLBs wide and drop a safety in the box.

    What 10 things should the Niners do to win?

    1. Stop playing players in the wrong position. Move Ward to safety. Put Garnett at LG.

    2. Stop playing players who are awful, and need to let others play, because the awful players are hurting the team. Elevate Cromartie. Play Harris more. Play Streater more. Play Bellore less. Play Bethea less. Play Reaser more. Play Donte more. Play Blair more. Play Tank less. Elevate Rush.

    3. Assume the other team is stealing signals, so signal in one play, but do something totally different.

    4. Use time outs WISELY. Do not use them to help the other side. Save them for legitimate challenges, and the last 2 minutes of each half.

    5. Stop shooting themselves in the foot. Play more controlled, less emotional, more focused and efficient. Play for the team, not self aggrandizement. Being such losers of an 11 game losing streak,, they should not celebrate until they win a game.

    6. Play smarter. Try to out think the opponent. Use deception. Stop running into the teeth of the defense.

    7. The Niners will win if Kaep gets the ball into the hands of his playmakers. He should expect that he needs to score at least 7 times, because the defense is sieve-like.

    8. The Niners will win if Chip goes bold. Do not settle for Field goals inside the red zone. Do not punt if in the opponent’s territory. Chip needs to get back to playing his up tempo style of football. He should tell Baalke to shove it, and play his way, with the players he thinks can win the game.

    9. Baalke wants to lose so he can get as good a draft position as possible. Chip should punt that defeatist attitude, and go for broke. Baalke, with his meddling, and now the leaks, just turns my stomach, and should have been demoted to financials. Re-signing Vance at this time of year just proves how inept and clueless Baalke is. His re-signing of Devey just shows how stubborn he is to promote his picks over the good of the team. Baalke needs to go. Even with the first pick, if Baalke is in charge, just expect more failure.

    Niners need to star playing NINER FOOTBALL. Ask Brent Jones for a definition.

    1. Geez Seb… No foot shooting, score 7 times, go bold… I can’t count the number of times you’ve repeated this. Why ask Brent J. when the FO and coaching staff have you…

          1. Not that you would notice, but I threw in some tweaks like using time outs wisely, so they do not help the opposition, I mentioned specific players and new game time strategies.

            But I also heartily invite other posters to ignore my posts, if they have read it before. This post was directed at the new readers.

          2. Did not. Cassie’s recap was enough.

            The oldie but goodie, Colin needs to throw the defense off by looking one way while throwing the other.

            1. I also said to knock off the excessive celebrations until they win a game, but you probably want them to go wild, even for a first down.

            2. Jack, I repeat my posts because of guys like you. I have now imprinted my ideas on your psyche so thoroughly, you are parroting them back at me.

              1. That is the problem, You do not think looking off the safeties is important.

                You are the true fraud to hate this team so much, you cannot accept good ideas.

              2. That is also the problem. Niners ignore good advice.

                When I tell them to play smart, they decide to play stupid.

                When I say they should behave with class, they get down to the elementary school level like you do.

        1. Yup, and every time they keep shooting themselves in the foot, I will keep repeating my admonition until they start getting so sick of my posts, they will start playing with some discipline.

      1. Brent Jones is a Super bowl winner, has done it, and would possess more gravitas. Actually, I got the Idea or concept from him.

  17. Jed York’ mantra: “Just lose, baby!”
    And at this point, why not? There’s no purpose to win out. Will winning a couple of games save Chip’ job? I don’t believe that Chip get’s fired whether he wins or loses the rest of the season.

    On the other hand, Baalke is gone whether the team wins or loses. There will be some collateral damage that will come on the heels of Baalke’ dismissal.
    Many of Baalke’s signed players and free agents will be gone. Let’s just call it a purging of sorts.

    I did not expect the team to fall as hard this season, but I didn’t expect them to win more than 6-8 games either.
    I believe the Org feels that this draft will not produce that many quality players beyond the 2nd round. Putting themselves in position to pick high between 1-3 in the draft should at the very least garner players that could produce the foundation that could usher in a winning culture again.

    I definitely don’t like losing, but if the 49ers bite the bullet in an effort to draft high the losses will carry over from season to season.

  18. The 10 things the Niner’s need to do to win on Sunday.

    1. Don’t listen to Seb
    2. Don’t listen to Seb
    3. Don’t listen to Seb
    4. Don’t listen to Seb
    5. Don’t listen to Seb
    6. Don’t listen to Seb
    7. Don’t listen to Seb
    8. Don’t listen to Seb
    9. Don’t listen to Seb
    10. Don’t listen to Seb

    Bonus* Don’t listen to Seb

    PS* New readers, Don’t listen to Seb

    1. 1. Keep playing players out of position to lose.

      2. Keep playing awful players to lose

      3. Dont assume the other team is stealing signals to lose.

      4. Use time outs like they did last game to lose.

      5. Keep shooting themselves in the foot, hands and head, and lose.

      6. Play dumb to lose.Run into the teeth of the defense.

      7. Make Kaep win the game alone, and lose.

      8. Go timid to lose.

      9. Assume Baalke is a genius. Cut players on the team bus. Do not retain veteran talent and leadership to lose.

      10. Listen to Prime and Juan to figure out how to play football. Hate the starting QB, and cackle with glee when they lose.

    1. 9ers 20, Jets 24.

      I have a sense the 9ers might squeeze out a win here if the Jets play very tight and get rattled. Will be great fun no matter how it turns out. NFL caliber play all around!

  19. I do agree with Seb on number 1 though. They are playing at least one player out of position. That would be Kaencerprick. Cackle Cackle.

    1. I have tried to avoid your posts, but you seem to be begging for it.

      Sounds like you have a tortion.

      Another name caller, unrelentingly negative with low football knowledge. Are you and Prime twins?

  20. I feel the same way as the author the SF 49ers have purposefully tanked for the past few years. When you have $$ & football sense to build a Playoff/Superbowln roster and you don’t. Plus you lose and create record lows tells me this fall from grace is planned.

  21. The stupidest article ever lol I hate Tim Kawakami and Ray Ratto but atleast they acknowledge how bad the roster is and almost always put the blame on York and Baalke.

  22. Hoping banners are aloft today–the kind towed by aircraft! Perhaps there’ll be a precision flyover by a flock of pigeons as well…

  23. Looks like Denise is performing an intervention.

    Some say that Baalke’s re-signing of Vance showed how much power he has, I say it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Vance may be a swell guy, but his drop rate makes him a liability. He does not deserve 16 mil guaranteed, especially when no other team would take a risk on a player with stone hands.

    Sure am glad that Baalke has taken all the blame, He might fall on his sword to save Jed’s job.

    Denise has had enough. She does like to see her son being excoriated, and the whole team being humiliated. She wants her beloved Niners to be returned to relevance, not dragged into the gutter again.

    Those leaks and smears may have also factored into her thinking. Hope she puts her foot down- right on Baalke’s neck.

  24. Man, hard to see 49ers in this state. Having an understanding of football and the actuarial data behind play calling, I would suggest that the current play calling would not produce the best probable outcomes. It’s masked at first glance, however break down the game film and you will notice the anomalies.

  25. Grant wrote:

    “I would hate to think Kelly is losing on purpose. Losing just to get better draft picks or get Baalke fired. I would hate to think Kelly has wasted one of the final seasons of Joe Staley’s great career.

    But I admit, I never have seen a head coach less invested in his team than Kelly is this season. Almost every day, he reminds us this isn’t his team — it’s Baalke’s team. And these aren’t his players — they’re Baalke’s players.” (emphasis added)

    The apparent lack of investment on Kelly’s part is what is striking to me. I am still not sure there is any intention to lose games, however. It may be more the case that winning them is not the priority at this time for Kelly. There could be a variety of reasons for this, from a power play for control of the team to a plan that contemplates that it will get worse before it gets better (the Theo Epstein approach) to an inability to coach at the pro level to a simple lack of desire on Kelly’s part (or some combination thereof). Given Kelly’s past as a high-achieving, competitive personality, lack of desire seems least likely, which leaves incompetence or some kind of long-term plan. And with Kelly, my suspicion is that there is some long-term plan and that said plan may not have winning games this season as a high priority.

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