As I have repeated several times around here: Football is the ultimate team game. It takes 53 guys and an intelligent, forward thinking coaching staff to succeed in the NFL. The 49ers have 53 guys that, on paper, are talented enough to be one of the 10 best teams in the NFL... yet they are a disastrous 0-3.
Is it not evident the problem has nothing to do with talent?
For 3 games, I have witnessed a team that seems to be put in bad situations time after time. As fans, we are looking for answers. We want a team that answers the call; a team that answers to adversity. A team that can answer the questions that follow failure. Yet what we are seeing is a team that has no answers to anything. Opponents see the aggressive defense and simply gash it with screen passes. The 49ers have no answer. The 49ers stay stuck in their single-minded, highly predictable offense that defenses barely even have to work at stopping. The 49ers have no answers.
I like Mike Singletary. I like him as a person, I like him as a leader, and I liked him as a player. However, it is starting to become evident that something is severely wrong with this coaching staff. And while Nolan and Singletary are very different as personalities, the results are looking identical. These teams have loads of talent, yet their focus is consistently inconsistent. Never will you see the same team on the field two weeks in a row. With all of the quality veterans on this team (T. Spikes, M. Lewis, N. Clements, E. Heitmann, F. Gore, etc.) that is inexcusable.
We can talk about the motivation aspect all we want, but I think the problem goes beyond being intense or not. When I look at this team, I see players that are put in harms way. I see coordinators (Manusky included) that do not respond to what the opponent is doing. I see a pair of coordinators that are stuck in their ways. Just listen to their interviews: It's always, "If we do what we do, we'll be fine." No, you won't. It's become severely evident the opposing coaches have answers to what the 49ers do both on offense and defense. The 49ers never have answers. Raye is stuck in his offense and does not exploit the opposing defense. Maybe Manusky and Raye aren't sharp enough to see beyond their own system.
Am I not the only one that remembers film of Bill Walsh focusing on how to exploit his opponents weaknesses? He was a masterful Chess player when other coaches were playing Checkers. This whole "do what we do" thing is trivial. It's amateur. It's elementary. You implement your offense and defense in training camp. Come the regular season, it is time to find way to exploit the weaknesses of your opponent. What I see is a coaching staff that, regardless if they try to do that or not, never consistently succeed at exploiting their opponent. Raye and Manusky seem to be on the receiving end of the Chess match. They're always one move behind; always on their heels.
But what do we do? It's clear I am finding issue with the head coach and both offensive and defensive coordinators. However, that does not mean I have a solution.
There are a lot of cons with firing coaches, which is why I don't look that way right away. But I'll toss a poll on here to see what you guys think. Also, feel free to give me your thoughts on this issue in the comments.
Personally, I would love to see Jed York hire coaches from the Bill Walsh tree or at least with history in the 49ers organization (like the Gruden's and Mariucci's of the world). However, that doesn't help us this year. I think there needs to be a short term plan and a long term plan. Cleaning house is not going to help in any way. I really don't know what to do right now, but I know there are problems that need fixing.
Right now, I think we're stuck. If this team goes 0-6 or 1-5, sure, fire whoever you want and look to the future. But I think we need to stick it out to see if this team (and coaching staff) has what it takes to respond and turn this season into something respectable. It isn't looking good, but I think they need to be given 6 games before we fire anyone.
Behind the jump, a few quick thoughts on the players as a whole.
No, this wasn't Alex Smith's fault. He didn't play great, but he didn't do much to hurt the team today. In fact, he was really the sole reason the 49ers had any offense at all. That doesn't mean he played well, but this was clearly a team collapse. Smith was a victim of pressure in his face, just like Gore. Neither Smith nor Gore gave up over 450 yards to the meek Chiefs offense.
The offensive line was f'ing atrocious. Worst performance I have seen in a long time. The run blocking was a repeat of Seattle: Gore was getting hammered (Norris didn't help either by getting knocked backwards by defenders). But the pass blocking may have been even worse. Smith was sacked 5 times, and he was running for his life all game long. We've seen what this team can do (Saints game) when the offensive line does their job, and today they were absolutely man-handled. For a supposed smash-mouth offensive line, they played like a collection of Barbie dolls. This offense goes as the offensive line goes. It always has and always will start in the trenches.
I want to skip by the WR's and TE's (they each played Ok) and go right to the defense.
Oh. My. God. I've gotten a lot of shit on this board for claiming that the 49ers do not have a good (let alone great) defense. They can be dominant at times, but days like today give me flashbacks to games like last year against Atlanta. This defense is severely underachieving. I'm starting to think it falls on Manusky, but there were so many problems on defense today I don't know where to start. They didn't stop the the run, they didn't stop the pass, they didn't stop a damn thing. 450+ yards to a conservative offense like Kansas City is not only inexcusable, it's pathetic.
This team is built around running the ball, play-action passing, and playing stout defense. Well, Gore had nowhere to run, Smith was constantly forced to run away, and the defense was like a group of swiss cheese. They are failing severely at their own strengths, and you can't win if you can't do what you do best.