I told myself that I would wait till the end of the season before coming to any conclusions on this 49ers’ coaching staff, but when the same ugly tendencies continue to pop up week in and week out one can’t help to question the obvious.
I recently asked my fellow Monta Vista High School alum Cam Inman, now with the San Jose Mercury News, if the 49ers would win another game this season. https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/11/14/49ers-mailbag-will-49ers-win-another-game-this-season/
His response is comforting and even sensible, but not without debate. He believes the 49ers will beat the Buccaneers in Tampa, despite it being their longest road trip of the season and having an early kickoff. (10:00 am) He goes on to say that this could even be the year the 49ers finally defeat the Seahawks. His argument? “History, after all, tells us no one beats Shanahan’s 49ers in December”.
That is a refreshing thought for 49ers fans, but how plausible is it really? If the 49ers continue their current erroneous tendencies, they will continue to lose winnable games. The Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants, for example were very winnable games, yet the 49ers collectively found a way to lose those games.
Of course you have to consider all the variables before making educated assumptions. With that said, the injury bug has always been lurking throughout the season and can not be over looked as a contributing factor to these losses. Their up coming bye week should relieve many of those injury concerns as the 49ers should come back considerably healthier.
I agree with Cam for the most part, they should win a few more games this season despite all their shortcomings. I do question whether or not this young team is capable of winning at a consistent level, however at this time of the season most fans can predict who’s a contender and who’s simply vying for a high pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Right now the 49ers are competing with the Raiders for the number one pick.
At this point in the season I think the best thing for Kyle Shanahan is for him to take the remainder of the season to evaluate his current roster and coaching staff. Shanahan’s ability to keep his young team competitive and playing hard is admirable, but at some point players need to see the fruits of their labor or they will eventually lose interest.
Fans might be calling for his head, but don’t expect Kyle Shanahan to replace defensive coordinator Robert Saleh any time soon. Holes in the roster and a lack of depth to fill those holes have hampered the 49ers this season. Injuries to key players have only exasperated their already precarious situation.
Saleh will get another season to prove his worth and show he can run an NFL level defense, which up to this point he has not been able to do. He will need more pieces to complete his defensive system though, if he is to succeed. Edge rusher, corner back, and safety top Saleh’s wish list and it will be up to general manager John Lynch to find him those pieces, whether they be found in free agency, trade, or in the NFL Draft.
Anybody who thinks Kyle Shanahan isn’t one of the best play callers in the league doesn’t really know much about offensive football. There may have been some questionable calls and miss handled time management, but overall I’ve been very impressed with his system. I don’t claim to be a genius, but I can spot one, and Shanahan is a young genius in the making.
So even though this season has been nothing less than a struggle, I predict it will pay off in the end. We just have to wait for nature to take its course, after all Camelot was not built in two seasons.