ESPN Grading the NFC: 49ers - D


ESPN is running Scouts Inc's look at the teams at the halfway point of the season, as most teams have had their bye week.  They gave the 49ers a D, which kind of surprised me given expectations and the infusion of talent.  Of course, maybe we're just harder or we know more about the team.  I'll leave that for you to decide:

San Francisco 49ers (2-6)
Right answers: The defense has improved from 26th to 22nd this season. Although that is not a huge rise, the defense has had to step up several times this year thanks to an offense that has not been able to sustain drives with any consistency. The 49ers have found a legitimate defensive rookie of the year candidate in inside linebacker Patrick Willis.

Wrong answers: The offense has struggled with passing and with running. The biggest issue seems to be on the offensive line. It is not opening up holes very well, and the team is ranked 30th at rushing the ball, averaging just 88 yards a game. Another sign of the offensive line's struggles is the fact it has allowed 26 sacks, third most in the NFL.

What's next? It's time to start planning for next year. The 49ers have young offensive linemen who were drafted high -- Kwame Harris, a first-round pick in 2003, and David Baas, a second-round selection in 2005 -- and they need to decide whether these players have a future or they should trade them. San Francisco also needs to find out whether any of its receivers can catch the ball consistently.

It's definitely time to start planning for the future in regards to guys like Kwame Harris.  It's time to figure out what we'll do with him as the injuries/benchings start to pile up.

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