Three things the 49ers must do in the second half

Despite coming into the season with one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, the 49ers sit at 4-4 at the halfway point of their season. The team has returned from its BYE week and is ready to kickoff the second half on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Chargers.

To make the playoffs and reach their goal of a Super Bowl championship San Francisco will need to improve in three areas.

Here they are.

1.) Execute

The common theme during each of the Niners losses in the first half was a lack of execution.

On the offensive side of the ball, mistakes proved costly for San Francisco.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, starting with the quarterbacks. Against Chicago in week one Trey Lance missed an open throw for a touchdown early in the game. On the opening drive of the second half, he passed up a potential touchdown throw to Jauan Jennings, leading to a sack. Those two errors cost the 49ers eleven points in a game they would lose by nine.

In Denver two weeks later, Jimmy Garoppolo struggled to generate any consistency on offense. The third quarter saw the veteran step on the endline of the endzone for a safety, giving the Broncos two points in a game the 49ers lost by one.

Fumbles have also been an issue. The 49ers are near the top of the NFL in fumbles this season. Against Atlanta, Jeff Wilson Jr. put the ball on the ground and the Falcons returned it for a touchdown. San Francisco was unable to pull itself out of the hole.

Another area that has hurt the production of San Francisco’s offense is penalties. They are one of the most penalized units in the league.

Last but certainly not least is dropped passes.

San Francisco made Deebo Samuel one of the league’s highest paid receivers during the offseason. Samuel’s seven dropped passes leads the NFL, quite an accomplishment when you consider he missed a game due to injury.

Samuel isn’t alone. Jauan Jennings has dropped five passes as well. That means he has not been able to hold on to roughly one out of every five passes that has come his way.

In total, 49ers pass catchers have dropped eight percent of their targets this season. The highest number in the league.

It should come as no surprise that San Francisco’s four best games came when they executed to their potential.

2.) Stay healthy

Since Kyle Shanahan took over San Francisco has struggled to stay healthy. This has once again been the case in 2022.

While Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead continue to work their way back from lower body injuries, the Niners had several starters return to practice on Monday.

Among those set to return are Elijah Mitchell, Azeez Al-Shaair, Colton McKivitz, Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, Kyle Juszczyk and Jason Verrett.

Keeping their starters healthy will be vital to success in the second half.

3.) Finish

San Francisco finished the regular season strong on their way to the postseason in 2019 and 2021. They will need another strong finish if they are to make it back this season.

A game and a half behind Seattle for the lead in the NFC West, the 49ers currently hold the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC.

The schedule sets up favorably. San Francisco will play six of their final nine at home and travel outside the Pacific time zone only once. Tough matchups at the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will set the stage for what could be a fight for the division lead in Seattle in mid-December.

This article has 22 Comments

  1. Good on all three points, Jack.
    The Deebo drops have been a surprise. Drops could come in many variations. Sometimes WRs can’t bring in a bad pass and sometimes they just flat-out drop them. But either way, 7 dropped passes is still unlike Deebo.

    Missing in your points is actually a positive in that the O-line was not mentioned as a sore spot. Going into the season, there was quite a bit of criticism regarding this area. It looks like the O-line is becoming a solid building block for the team going forward.
    Also, with many of our injured players returning, it can only be better for the team.

    1. AES,
      Would you be comfortable going into next year with Brendel at C, McGlichey at RT, Burford at RG and McKivitz at swing OT?

      1. I can’t make a prediction regarding McKivitz, but if Burford, McGlinchey and Brendal can get us deep into the playoffs, I’m good with it.
        Here’s a question for you coach. What do you think Jimmy G has to do to warrant a new contract?

        1. AES,
          I assume you mean a new contract with the 49ers. I believe he needs to win, get us to the playoffs at least to the NFCCG. If he can do that I would resign him but not for too much. I would pay him in the range of 15 to 18 million.

          1. Yes, Coach,
            I was referring to the 49ers regarding Jimmy G.
            My exceptions for Garoppolo are more ambitious. He needs to win the Super Bowl to receive a new contract.

            He’s already been in the SB and did not win. I just don’t see Lynch and Shanahan expecting anything less then a SB trophy.

  2. It’s all about mistakes and penalties. If the Niners can play clean games they should win most if not all of their remaining games. Reduce turnovers and penalties. The team has played 8 games so early season jitters should be over with. I believe they will have a strong second half.

  3. Agree with Jack’s points. The dropped passes are a bit of a mystery but may be related to a lack of concentration by receivers. They have all, except maybe Aiyuk, underperformed. Getting paid big money and great performances do not necessarily correlate. Deebo is far less impactful this year. My real fear for the future is that Trey has not improved his accuracy, judgment, or offensive reads. Immaturity? Lack of a big-time resume after inadequate experience in a minor-league conference? We overpaid for him by quite a bit.
    Sorry, we blew so many games at the start of the season. Those losses will haunt us all season.

  4. One of the most talented rosters in the NFL.
    Team is 4-4
    Team makes too many mistakes, aren’t executing.
    One of the most penalized teams in the league.

    This screams – Coaching. I’m not suggesting in the least that Kyle Shanahan should be on the hot seat but, let’s be honest, this hasn’t been a great coaching effort. There’s more to coaching than being a great play caller. Even Kyle’s play designs, especially where Trey Lance was concerned, have left a lot to be desired. 49ers points per game is ranked 19th in the league. The Seahawks and Cardinals are ranked above the 49ers. They are at 15 for rush yards per game. Wasn’t that supposed to be Anthony Lynn’s specialty? As far as I can see, Anthony Lynn has contributed exactly Zilch, Nada, Bupkus to this offense. The only thing I’ve noticed him do all year is screw up In Game substitutions. To me, the first thing that must happen for the 49ers to make the playoffs is the coaching must improve. I’m growing a bit tired of Kyle’s stubbornness and the sloppiness of his teams.

    1. Pat,
      I think KS’s Asst. coaches have more to do with the lack of execution and penalties. He has lost quite a few coordinators and assistants to the NY Jets and Miami Dolphins as well as him releasing a few. Part of that is hiring quality coaches who move up and part of it is not doing a good job replacing the ones who have left. I believe he needs to take a close look at his staff this off season especially if they lose Ryans and whoever he takes as his coordinators. IE Foerster and Kocurek.

    2. The players are professional men who have played football most of their lives and have been instructed at every level that’s it bad to have penalties and to drop a pass. Why not just do the obvious and blame the player? Do you honestly think the players don’t know better? Don’t care about their profession and future salaries?

      1. WOW you really undervalue position coaches. Football is the ultimate coaches sport. more than basketball and much more than baseball.

        1. Not at all. They do more important things than remind players to not drop passes. At work, if an employee makes a mistake, goof up, or does something they know they aren’t supposed to do, do you criticize their boss?
          A little common sense would indicate that on basic things a player is suppose do and doesn’t, it is on the player.

          1. Frankly, it’s both. Players know not to drop passes or commit penalties. Coaches know players shouldn’t drop passes or commit penalties. To me, where the coaching comes into play is adapting drills and practice plans to address weaknesses. I recall Bill Walsh telling a story after he left the 49ers. He attended some NFL practice somewhere and a reporter asked him if he was flattered than he saw so many schemes, play designs, and practice drills that originated with Walsh. Walsh said, No. Drills and practice plans should evolve with the game. Coaches should be developing new drills and new techniques that fit rule changes and changing schemes. I think that’s true with the 49ers coaches. There’s definitely a weakness in a few areas that need to be addressed. If the coaches don’t address those things in practice those things won’t be fixed in games. Just telling a player not to drop passes isn’t enough. They should be going back to basics and concentrating on perfect execution through high volume drills catching various types of passes. There should be ways to address in practice the actions that are causing penalties in games. The proof is in the pudding. If those things get fixed in games then coaches and players can share in the success. If those things don’t get fixed in games then coaches and players can share in the blame.

            1. However, you have no idea what drills coaches are teaching players. I’ll stick to my opinion that’s it’s on the players.

              1. Felix being inflexible and not considering any ones opinion other than his own. I am shocked, shocked I say

              2. Felix,
                Coaches are very important and carry a large responsibility to the teams success.
                But in this case, I have to agree that it’s on the WRs.

                The core of the 49ers WRs are the same as last year. And the designed plays are predominately the same as last year. The drops aren’t coming from rookies or new WRs. As a matter of fact, they have the same QB that they had last year.
                Yes, “it’s on the players.”

  5. Tough matchups at the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will set the stage for what could be a fight for the division lead in Seattle in mid-December.

    I think these are actually home games which would make them much easier.

  6. “The San Francisco 49ers announced that cornerback Jason Verrett suffered yet another devastating injury, tearing his Achilles tendon during practice on Wednesday. He will not play in a game this season.”

Comments are closed.