SANTA CLARA — On Thursday, head coach Kyle Shanahan insisted the 49ers are a disciplined, fundamentally sound team, even though they rank among the league’s worst in giveaways, pre-snap penalties, total penalties and missed tackles.
“I don’t think we’re undisciplined,” Shanahan argued at his press conference. “I don’t think tackling is discipline. I don’t think turnovers are discipline. It’s called making a bad play or missing a tackle.”
Shanahan spoke with an edge to his voice.
He continued: “I think we did get a lot better last week in terms of tackling, and we’re going to try to get better at it this week. When it comes to turnovers, we had our worst turnover game of the year last week. We had two fumbles in the pocket. We had a fumble by a running back and we had a tipped throw and a throw behind someone on fourth-and-20.
“You can make it whatever you want to make it, but we actually make it what it is. You look at why the picks happened, why the turnovers happened, why a missed tackle happened, you address that and you try to get better.”
According to Shanahan, there is no theme or common thread to the 49ers’ mistakes. They all happened for different, fluky reasons.
Since Shanahan took over in 2017, mistakes have defined his team. Last season, the 49ers turned the ball over 23 times. They also committed 46 pre-snap penalties and 123 total penalties, which cost them 988 yards. All three penalty stats ranked among the league’s seven worst teams in those departments.
This season, the 49ers are on pace to commit 35 turnovers (second-most in the NFL), 45 pre-snap penalties and 125 total penalties, which would cost them 1,114 total yards. The 49ers have gotten sloppier by the week under Shanahan, both on offense and defense.
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