The San Francisco 49ers (3-5) are on the verge of the fourth losing season in five years under the leadership of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. What better way to get a feel for the pulse of the fan base than to take some questions?
Here is the first edition of 49ers mailbag. If all goes well this will become a weekly feature.
This highlights one of the issues between the actions of the team and those outside the organization. The 49ers clearly don’t feel like the season is over. They are currently only one game out of the final playoff spot in the NFC and have games against all but one team ahead of them on the schedule.
With regards to seeing more or the rookies playing, this goes back to the playoff positioning. As long as the 49ers feel they have a chance the likelihood rookies like Banks getting in is slim.
There’s not a lot the 49ers can do at this point to improve their secondary, however one move they should make is going back to Deommodore Lenoir opposite Emmanuel Moseley. The rookie played fine when in the starting lineup the first two weeks of the season, however he would be benched in favor of veteran Josh Norman for the Green Bay game and now is seemingly behind Dre Kirkpatrick on the depth chart, another off the street free agent signing.
The only reason I can come up with for Lenoir’s fall from grace is his mistakes in coverage at the end of the Green Bay game when he had to replace Norman.
I feel that Garoppolo played the better game against Arizona, especially in the first half. He moved the team well throughout the first half, but drops from Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, along with fumbles from Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk hurt the offense.
The turnovers coupled with the defenses inability to stop Arizona turned the game into a blowout by the midpoint of the third quarter.
He should. Since the York family took over the 49ers, Jim Harbaugh was their most successful head coach with a record of 44-19-1 and Jed ran him out of town in favor of Trent Baalke. The two seasons that followed resulted in seven wins.
Following the 2016 season the 49ers were at an all-time low and York needed to make a splash to energize the fan base. The shiny new toy on the market that offseason was Kyle Shanahan. His offense had just lit up the NFL, and his name was the hottest on the market.
What York and most 49ers fans missed was Shanahan’s track record of failure. While often heralded as an offensive genius, Shanahan’s offenses had managed to score in the top half of the league only three times in nine seasons as an offensive coordinator. That trend has continued in San Francisco, where the 49ers offense has reached that level only one time in five seasons.
The biggest overreaction has been to the quarterback situation when they should have been paying attention to the defense and lack of execution from the best players.
While everyone has been arguing about whether Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance should be starting, the 49ers defense has struggled, allowed 22 points or more in six of the first eight games. They miss the presence of DeForest Buckner in the middle of the line and his leadership in the locker room.
This offseason the 49ers made Fred Warner the highest paid linebacker in football. Through the first eight weeks of the season, he has not looked good. Warner has struggled to step up and stop the run on a consistent basis, and his pass coverage has slipped as well.
On the offensive side of the ball, George Kittle has once again missed games due to injury. Even when he’s played his impact has been minimal. In week one a muffed onside kick allowed Detroit to hang around, and last week against Arizona his fumble began the mistakes in a big game. He did end the first half with a touchdown however, his first in over 365 days.
Deebo Samuel is having a career year with close to 900 receiving yards, but he leads the NFL in drops with 10 on 81 targets. Yes, he makes spectacular plays, but the drops cause hurt the flow of the offense. We saw this early against Arizona when a drop on 2nd and 15 forced a 3rd and 15 instead of 3rd and 5. Samuel also has two fumbles on the season. His first coming late against Detroit ended up not hurting San Francisco, however his second against Indianapolis led to a Colts touchdown that gave them a lead the 49ers would not be able to overcome.
And finally, Brandon Aiyuk. After spending the first six weeks in football Siberia, otherwise known as Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse, the second-year receiver has been given opportunities the last two weeks and has made some spectacular catches. Unfortunately, one of those spectacular catches would result in Aiyuk fumbling the ball away deep in the Arizona redzone and taking points away from the 49ers.