Wow what a tough loss. Things seemed to pile up on the 49ers pretty quickly this last week and the team is going through some real adversity. But I wanted to offer some context on the season and more specifically our offensive struggles. So I first want to state things I don't believe in.
1.) I don't believe Greg Roman is an idiot: People are quickly forgetting that we just went to a super bowl with this coaching staff. Last year greg roman had the offense firing on all cylinders and if it wasn't for the offense in the playoffs we probably lose the first game.
2. I don't believe Kap is overrated: Kap is one of the most talented QBs in the league. He can run, he can make almost all the throws (Has trouble with the fly route for some reason) and has a high football IQ. He is young and is going to make mistakes but most of the problems on offense right now have nothing to do with map.
3.) I don't believe the defense is bad and the secondary is playing weak. Russel Wilson and Andrew luck both put up less than 200 yards on the team. They have kept the 9ers in the game up until the last moments of the 4th qtr. They have been on the field constantly due to 3 n outs. There is only so much they can do!
So why is the offense struggling? Well to put it simply, this offense has basically started from scratch. People often forget that in 2011, even though the hers were winning, the offense was not really that great. It was 3 n out after 3 n out. Alex Smith taking 100 sacks and being lucky enough to get great punt returns, a kicker that couldn't miss, and INT's for TDs. Last year after a year to figure things out and having all of the players returned, the offense was finally starting to gain ground. Most of the Key players returned, and the new players were all veterans. This year they are back to ground zero. The majority of the WRs are brand new to the system and they are young. Kap is a young QB and does not have the game experience to carry all of these guys in the first 3 games. Basically, the offense has not shown any chemistry in these first 3 games and defenses are taking advantage and not playing honest and it is flustering the offensive output. The Play Calling has not seemed to find a way to take advantage of what these WRs can do and Kap doesn't seem to trust that his WRs will get open so is giving up on the play way to early. However, there are reasons to not call it quits on the team this season just yet. 1.) The chemistry issues tend to take care of themselves as the season goes on. If you look at teams that have basically a new offense starting out the season, a lot of times they start clicking as the season progresses. Think Broncos last year. The team started off slow, Peyton didn't have much chemistry with his WRs at the beginning and was relying on Brandon Stokely way too often. Then throughout the season the offense started to take off. There are going to be some growing pains at the beginning of this season as Kap and Roman figures out their new and young WRs. 2.) This receiving corps is much more talented than people are giving credit. Kyle Williams is a good player. He's very fast, runs great routes and has the ability to beat bump coverage. Boldin has sure hands. Patton shows great ability to fight for the ball and is extremely shifty at the line to beat out bump coverage. The way the 9ers should play them is Patton and Boldin on the outside with williams in the slot. Vance McD will continue to learn how to find holes in zone coverage. I truly believe things will start to click with this offense.
Now with that being said there are things that the 9ers coaching staff will need to figure out down the road.
1.) Why are they giving up on our running game. There was absolutely no reason to give up on the power running game this past weekend against the colts. The 9ers were dominating the ground game in the 1st Qtr and then just gave up. The last 2 years the coaches never gave up on the running game. 2 instances of note were when they were down 17-0 against the falcons in the playoffs and yet they stayed true to giving Gore and LMJ the rock. Also in the last minutes of the playoff games against the saints 2 years ago with 1:30 left they still ran the ball! I don't want to hear any non sense about the other team stacking the box. Last year Frank Gore faced a 8+ man box 76% of the time he ran and still averaged 4+ yards a carry. This will not only open the pass game it will stop the ability of the defense to just run Man-Man coverage with an LB spying the QB. That will not work against a dominant run game. Going forward I expect Roman to go back to relying on Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter to dominate the power run game and get rid of these stupid gimmicky sweep plays that hardly ever work.
2.) I think its time to activate Baldwin and James. Baldwin can beat Man bump coverage any day of the week. He will be a great addition to the teams efforts if anything to make the defense play an honest game. Also, With the coverages the defenses are running, LMJ can add a very dangerous element. Having man-man coverage with an LB spy will open up the middle of the field and can get him in space. LMJ in space will be a dangerous combo.
Going forward I believe that this offense will start clicking and Roman will figure out how to take advantage of the talent he has and utilize the personnel effectively. They will go back to their bread and butter as well. Another thing to look forward to is the 9ers are going to get healthy as the season progresses. They will get Manningham back. They will get Vernon Davis back. They will get Crabtree back. The offense will build chemistry and the schedule will get lighter.
Finally just for context I want to highlight some notable week 4 power rankings from last year.
#1 Texans: Easily handled in the playoffs
#5 Cardinals (3-0) didn't make playoffs
#6 Giants (2-1) Didn't make Playoffs
#9 Eagles (2-1) Didn't Make Playoffs
#11 Bears (2-1) Didn't Make Playoffs
And these Teams had 1-2 records and still finished the season strong
#7 Packers (1-2) Made playoffs
#14 Broncos (1-2) Made Playoffs
#22 Redskins (1-2) Made Playoffs
#31 Colts (1-2) Made playoffs.
Basically, the 9ers are still a talented team. They have a few things to figure out and they need to figure it out sooner rather than later. But the talent is there and there is no reason to start planning for next season just yet.