49ers Mailbag: Is it time to panic?

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off one of a disappointing 11-10 loss to Denver.

For the second time in only three weeks the 49ers offense was able to generate only 10 points.

It was the worst performance by a San Francisco offense with this type of talent since Jim Druckenmiller was forced to start in place of Steve Young against St. Louis in 1997. At least Druckenmiller was able to lead the 49ers to a 15-12 victory in that contest.

Easy to understand why every question this week was focused on the offense.

The Notorious G.A.V. @NotoriusGav – Are fans overreacting to the 49ers being 1-2 just like they were when the team was 3-5 last season? Why should we keep calm right now?

Yes, there has been an overreaction from 49ers fans to the loss on Sunday night.

Any time the team loses there is backlash. However, this loss coupled with the injury to Trey Lance the week prior against Seattle has a put the angst from some at full tilt.

Everything is being questioned. We are hearing the slow start is the result of Kyle Shanahan missing Mike McDaniel. How quickly we forget the 49ers started 3-5 last season with McDaniel on the coaching staff.

The concerns being expressed around Jimmy Garoppolo hold more validity.

Kyle Shanahan dialed up several big play opportunities on Sunday which were missed by the veteran quarterback.

As far as why you should keep calm, that one is simple.

If the 49ers defeat Los Angeles on Monday night, they will move into first place in the NFC West. The following two weeks show winnable games on the road against Carolina and Atlanta. A 4-2 start to the season would set San Francisco up for the remainder of their schedule.

Just an average guy @nightwing01 – After watching the film review, Jimmy doesn’t do three main things: Transfer his weight correctly, read the defense correctly, and deliver the football consistently. If he is terrible this week, should Kyle Shanahan move on the Brock Purdy to at least see what they have?

It’s important to remember that Jimmy Garoppolo came into this season as the backup quarterback.

While Shanahan has been loyal to his starters, we have seen him bench the backup in favor of another quarterback when the offense isn’t working.

However, I wouldn’t expect to see a quarterback change until the 49ers are eliminated from playoff contention.

It’s like last year when Shanahan chose to stick with Garoppolo despite the 3-5 start. Had San Francisco lost the Monday night game to Los Angeles and fallen to 3-6, it’s very likely we would have seen Trey Lance inserted to finish off the season.

ListensToYourPodcast @MemesYourPod – Do you think trading so many picks to draft a raw QB was a mistake for a team with a roster that’s ready to win now?

I don’t. They weren’t committed long term to Jimmy Garoppolo, so they made the move they felt necessary to put them over the top. However, 49ers decision to move up and select Trey Lance created a very difficult situation for Lance and the team. This was compounded by Lance being the only quarterback taken in the first round in 2021 to not start the majority of games for their new team.

Although sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo was the correct move, proven by the team advancing to the NFC Championship game, it added fuel to the fire from national media about the readiness of Lance.

As Shanahan and John Lynch pledged their belief in Lance during the offseason, the questions didn’t die down.

An up and down training camp, followed by the team signing Garoppolo to a restructured contract and then a loss to Chicago in week one kept the discussion going.

With Lance now out, the conversation will carry over to 2023.

Brian Bonfantini Nitenson @NitensonBrian – How long until Shanahan is on the hot seat?

I believe Shanahan will get at least one full year with Trey Lance before his job is in jeopardy.

The only way that would change is having this season become a complete disaster and he loses the locker room.

Shanahan was able to weather the early season storm last year. In fact, I believe it was one of the best coaching jobs we’ve seen in San Francisco when you consider all of the outside noise.

Doug @ohdouger – How do you think the 49ers offensive line holds up against the Rams defensive line?

Aaron Donald is one of the best in the game, but the Rams defensive line around him is not as strong as it was a season ago.

San Francisco was missing at least one starter along the offensive line in each of the three matchups last year.

Despite playing without Mike McGlinchey in the first regular season game and then being without Trent Williams as well for the season finale the 49ers swept both games. In the NFC Championship game, the 49ers still didn’t have McGlinchey, and Williams was hobbled with a high ankle sprain. Despite the injuries San Francisco held a ten-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

This article has 29 Comments

  1. Do you think Verrett has a chance to make an impact this season or do you think he’s a full season away before he’s effective again?

    He was horribly rusty after the first major injury as a 49er, but would be a huge boost to an already awesome defense should he be able to go and be effective. Reason I ask is I heard he’s going to be cleared to practice soon.

    1. Gav,
      With the way Lenior and Womack have been playing they really don’t need Verrett. I think they should let him get as healthy as they can and if they are still in the playoff race after game 11 or so give him a shot. If they are out of it by then lets give him a shot next year.

  2. I am curious if you took J. Wilson’s 2 longest runs last week out of the equation and Deebos long run against the Seahawks out what are the 49ers averaging per run so far this year? Another stat I am wondering about is what was the avg yard needed on 2nd down last week? All we hear about is how bad Jimmy is and he has been pretty bad or how bad KS’s play calling has been and he hasn’t been as sharp as usual. In reality this O line doesn’t open holes and they are a mediocre pass blocking group and until (if they ever do) they improve JG and KS will continue to struggle. Is there anyone around here who expects this group (sans Williams for 6 to 8 weeks) to become an Avg. NFL O line? If you do I would love for you to convince me.

    1. Coach,

      Take out the 37 and 18 yard runs by Wilson and San Francisco averaged 1.9 yards on their other 17 carries on Sunday night.

      Take out the 51 yard run for Samuel and he’s averaging 3.8 ypa.

        1. Rollo,
          By removing the 3 long runs it shows that Approx. 9 out of every 10 49er run plays are failures. This means that the 9ers are finding themselves in way too many 2nd and long and 3rd and long situations, which leads to them scoring 10 pts one game and 11 points in another. It makes play action fakes pretty much useless and along with JG inability to throw long it makes their passing attack anemic. imho

      1. Jack,
        For me it’s “a give and take” average. Because if either Wilson’s or Deebo’s runs would have gone for a TD, the low rushing average would likely have been a side note, because the 49ers would have won.

  3. The 2 guards are rookies having only played 3 games. The center isn’t much more experienced. I think it only smart to wait till the end of the year to make any grand pronouncements.

  4. OC, The “taking away ” the big plays to water down the averages brought back bad memories from the Grant days!!! that was his M.O. to overhype weaknesses. I agree with you across the board. We cant run, the line is weak and its going to get worse without TW.
    I am an optimist…..but its circle the wagon time. Regardless of how this season plays out……the future is still bright around here!
    the FO is at the very least in the top half of the NFL. They hit on mid to late picks and UDFAs constantly…..FAs will come here, unlike when Baalke was around. No one talks about the smart, proactive move of going after a qb when there where 5 stud first rounders ( the following year there would be none!!!!) INSTEAD OF giving JG a new 5 year contract at or near $35 mill per year ( good qbs getting $45 per…..so $35 for an average one with a winning resume is reasonable)!

    Lance, as raw as he is does SOME things extremely well! Especially compared to what we’ve become accustomed to……..he escapes pressure in the pocket effortlessly and has a big arm and is pretty accurate at deep throws downfield. He just needs to ne more consistent short to mid range……in other words…..the things he does well cant really be taught. You either have the physical talent or you dont! The things he needs to work on…..are more or less traits that are a dime a dozen in the NFL. And you cant blame the FO for swinging for the fence when drafting a qb #3 overall!!!! You dont draft a game manager that high…..if trey dosent pan out…..it wont be due to talent.

    Shany is a good, young HC. He’s not perfect….but he has room to grow, hes an offensive mastermind and we are lucky to have him!! there isnt 15 better HCs in the NFL…..probably not even 10! It blows my mind people call for him to be shown the door!!!!!!! Do they remember Kelly? Tomsula!?!?

    ill hang this thought out there for my fellow fans……worst case scenario is that this team dosent bounce back…..and next year Lance shows no promise……..well 2024 Lamar Jackson is probably a FA! He’ll get tagged next year…..but it would be expensive for the ravens to do it twice……

    1. J,
      I remember those days, when Grant would try to convince everyone that Frank Gore was washed up. The stats that I am using I believe are much worse than any of Gore’s stats that GC used. Although I did feel a little uncomfortable using the same argument that Cohn used that I hated at the time.

  5. With our elite defense, the only challenge to our offense is to score 17-21 points. I have to believe that the Off., can accomplish this. It has to start on Monday night.

  6. For all the criticism of the Oline, SF has the 6th most rushing yards out of 32 teams. They are mid league in yards per run. This is a young Oline but so far not bad and they should get better as the seasons on.

  7. I’ve talked myself off the ledge. Niners are 7-0 versus Rams in the regular season since the beginning of the Jimmy era. His stats versus the Rams are Jimmyesque and our D had a lot to do with the wins. But a win is a win and we really need a win Monday Night.

  8. I’m not in a panic…I’ve been a 9ers fan long enough to not get overly optimistic about reports out of training camp, about free agent signings, draft choices and ‘expert’ predictions about the 9ers being the SB favorite…as far as panic? Nope..they started slow last year, and needed up in the Championship game….I think my preseason ‘projection’ of a final 9-8 record, with Lance, is pretty close to where they’ll be…I don’t see that changing much with Jimmy under center

      1. Yeah!! First game at Kezar on a rainy November day with my Pop Warner teammates..we sat in the Christopher Milk Section..Philadelphia Eagles were in town..I think it was 1966..the 9ers were pretty bad in those days.actually, they were pretty bad for quite a while..but, two of my uncles were season ticket holders at the time, and would give me the programs from the games…they’ve always been my team, regardless of the record, coach, owner…

  9. Any predictions on what kind of game A. Donald will have Monday night. Brunskill always had outstanding games versus Donald. Will the 3 49ers interior O linemen be able to hold their own?

  10. Speaking of Brunskill, I thought as soon as he got healthy he would replace Brendel at C but with Williams going down I wonder if he might take over at LT.

  11. There is no easy answer to this question. If Jimmy Garoppolo continues to struggle, it may be time for the 49ers to consider giving Brock Purdy a chance. However, it is also important to remember that Garoppolo is still the starter and has shown flashes of brilliance in the past. Ultimately, it will be up to Shanahan to decide whether or not to make a change.

    1. Shanahan recently said in regards to Purdy, that the only way he would supplant Garoppolo is if the 49ers are out of the playoff picture.
      At 1-2, I think its safe to say that the 49ers are definitely NOT out yet. Which is a good thing for all parties involved.

  12. Agree with Jack that the Niners should be slightly favored at home against LA. I disagree with him that Lance was worth 3 first-round picks. I also feel Lance is not a franchise QB and looks no better this year than last. His passing accuracy is in question and he is not fast enough to run around the end. He is way too fragile for up-the-middle plays. I would seriously consider Purdy. A poor man’s franchise QB? If not, we need to make a big move at QB next year. We need to get a good veteran QB…perhaps Lamar. Don’t look for a better Lance next year.

    1. I can’t understand why you are so tough on Lance when he’s only played 3 games after only one year of college. Of course he’s not a top tier starter. He needs reps just like all young quarterbacks do. He was drafted not because he was NFL ready but because of his potential upside.

      1. That being said, potential upside doesn’t win Super Bowls…and I think the local media has done somewhat of a disservice to the fans with their rhetoric about this team being the SB favorite…actually, potential upside can take 2-3 full seasons to blossom…

        1. ..continued…and even after 2-3 full seasons, there is still no guarantee that Lance will be All Pro caliber, as many pundits have hinted…because the 9ers gave up so much to draft Lance, I believe fans are of the mindset that he is a ‘can’t miss’, and will QB the franchise to the promised land…but we all know it takes more than one guy, and right now, the team is more than one guy away from glory

    2. Allie,
      George Mira Brodie
      Billy Kilmer Brodie
      Bobby Waters Brodie
      Steve Spurrier Brodie
      Elvis Grbac S. Young
      Tim Rattay J. Garcia
      Troy Smith A. Smith
      Shaun Hill A. Smith
      JT O’Sullivan A. Smith
      Cody Pickett A. Smith
      Trent Dilfer A. Smith
      The first player listed is the backup QB (who all looked good in the preseason) who fans were calling for to replace the second player listed who was the 49ers starting QB at the time. You might notice that the first QB’s listed had short and undistinguished careers (Billy Kilmer had some success much later in his career and Dilfer was the starting QB of a SB winner playing with potentially the best D of all time.)
      While the 2nd QB listed all brought their teams to at least the Conference championship game.
      Are the next two names to add to this list:
      Brock Purdy Jimmy G
      I thought Purdy looked decent in the preseason playing primarily against players who are now on practice squads.
      Don’t get too excited about Purdy yet as my list shows there is a far better chance that Purdy will be a bust. Are you ready to hand the season over to an unproven rookie, A team with a playoff level D.

      1. Backup QB is always the most popular player on the roster for excitable impatient fans. ‘Twas ever was, will ever be.

        Coach, you could have added Jimmy Garropolo Trey Lance to your list. It was short lived, but definitely a thing amongst some.

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