The San Francisco 49ers saw their three-game winning streak snapped on Thursday, dropping ugly 19-3 game to the Seattle Seahawks. Even as the 49ers were winning those three games, and really for much of the season, the offense has struggled with consistency.
In any given week, we've seen some mix of poor offensive line play, receivers making ugly drops, Colin Kaepernick struggling with accuracy, and questionable play-calling as the offense is going nowhere. We don't see every one of these things every week. On Thursday, Kap couldn't seem to hit the broad side of a barn with his throws. He was overthrowing and under-throwing receivers, and basically gift-wrapping Richard Sherman with two interceptions. On Sunday against Washington, Kap was generally able to make excellent throws, but his receivers were dropping the ball. Prior to that, the offensive line was the primary culprit. And of course, as the team struggles, play-calling has been inconsistent.
Before the final snap, Jed York tweeted his displeasure with the team's performance. He did not suggest change by any means, but given the performances in recent weeks, it is clear there will be discussions about something. Tim Kawakami had a string of tweets noting some interesting things in the post-game atmosphere:
In addition to the Jed York apology Tweet, there were other bizarre post-game things...— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) November 28, 2014
Team president Paraag Marathe was in the room for Harbaugh's postgame presser, which I've never seen before...— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) November 28, 2014
And Jed York and Trent Baalke were in the trainer's room next to the locker room, pacing around, which I've also never seen before.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) November 28, 2014
York's young son was also there, I believe, so I doubt anything extra-heavy is about to happen. But the whole scene was interesting.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) November 28, 2014
Harbaugh walked from his presser through the locker room to another part of the facility, away from York & Baalke. But...— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) November 28, 2014
But I would assume York and Baalke were lingering there to have a postgame talk with Harbaugh. I would guess about the offense.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) November 28, 2014
Considering the offensive struggles this season, one has to imagine Jed York and Trent Baalke wanted to talk with Jim Harbaugh about the state of the offense. The 49ers have ten days until they face the Oakland Raiders, and then they travel up to Seattle the following week. Thursday's loss did not end the 49ers season, but it has them circling the drain with five games remaining. There has been no real indication that this offense can get on track, leaving what has frequently been a championship-caliber defense hung out to dry.
There are some folks who are pissed at Kap, and began calls for Blaine Gabbert. Given Gabbert's history, I can't really take that group seriously. Kap has struggled, but if people think Blaine Gabbert is the answer right now, you are sorely mistaken. That of course leaves Greg Roman as the man potentially on the chopping block. The most common comparison made lately is to when John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron in 2012. The Baltimore Ravens offense was struggling, and Harbaugh fired Cameron fairly late in the season. The Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl, although in the closing weeks of the regular season after Cameron was fired, the offense did not really improve. They got hot in the playoffs behind Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin.
If the 49ers were to fire Roman, my guess is quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst would move into the OC role. Whether that would make a difference for the 49ers remains to be seen. I'm sure plenty will celebrate Roman's firing, but let's not pretend we know that will be the cure to the 49ers offensive woes. There are a lot of problems that range from game-planning, to general game preparation, basic execution. The offensive coordinator can piss us off by abandoning the run, but it is not on him to actually catch passes, execute basic blocking assignments, or throw with some degree of accuracy.
I'm sure the notion of replacing Greg Roman will be broached by somebody at 4949 Marie P. DeBartolo Way over the next few days. If the 49ers were to make a change, they would want to do it before the team returns from the weekend to begin preparations for the Raiders. We don't know what Harbaugh's contract says about control over his coaching staff, so that could very well serve as a source of friction as the season moves on. We can kind of laugh at that considering the numerous reports of friction we have already heard about. But it will be just one more part of the story to track this week and through the rest of the regular season.