You know the 49ers are in the midst of a losing streak when people are speculating about locker room problems. Enter 49ers legend Jerry Rice. The video above features him talking about the 49ers locker room, and how there could be problems with the questions about his future hanging over. This follows an interview with Newsday earlier this week in which he said he had heard some complaints from players about Jim Harbaugh trying to coach with a collegiate mentality.
It is amazing how much like clockwork this kind of thing is. After Ian Rapoport reported issues heading into Week 1, it seems like each time the 49ers get into a losing streak, some kind of comments come up. Obviously this is a little different because it is a 49ers legend, and yet, this is really not all that different than what Randy Moss and Deion Sanders have had to say the last two months. In fact, he has basically taken what Moss and Deion said and ran with it.
As I've said from day one, I have no doubt that there are players who have made their complaints known to outside media. Jim Harbaugh is not a guy who is going to make everybody happy, and when the team is struggling, this kind of thing will come up. It is to be expected.
That being said, I don't know that it is the reason the 49ers are 4-4. The 49ers defense is generally doing some really good work, while the offensive is struggling. I don't see locker room issues being responsible for crappy offensive line play. I don't see locker room issues being responsible for Michael Crabtree's multiple drops, or Anquan Boldin dropping a sure touchdown a few weeks back.
The 49ers have real problems they need to address, and I don't think they are connected to locker room issues. Some of these reports pointed to this all starting when the 49ers first pursued Peyton Manning, and then when Jim Harbaugh decided to switch from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick. Since all that, the 49ers have gone to the Super Bowl and the NFC championship game. When the team is winning, locker room issues are not talked about, or at least are not viewed as a huge deal. When losses happen, people start talking. If the 49ers go into New Orleans and win, things will likely quiet down a little bit. It's become the nature of the beast.
The upside to more talk is that the 49ers have actually won each week we have seen national chatter about the locker room. I'm sure it is entirely a coincidence, but I'm still fine thinking this bodes well for this weekend against the New Orleans Saints!