On Sunday, following the San Francisco 49ers loss to the St. Louis Rams, Frank Gore and Joe Staley were two of the more notable players commenting on the issues during the game. Gore talked about how the team needed to figure out its identity, while Staley made it clear that everybody was to blame for the problems facing the team.
On Wednesday, both players were back speaking with the media (Gore transcript, Staley transcript). Both transcripts are worthwhile reads particularly following the frustration of Sunday. Both players talked about each individual needing to do a better job in their one-on-one assignments. We can point to very specific issues on a given play, but across the board, better execution is necessary.
Will it be enough for the team to earn a playoff berth? If the offense does not execute significantly better, no, this team will not earn a playoff berth. However, as Gore pointed out, this is an extremely talented team. But if we continue to see some combination of the offensive line not blocking well, receivers dropping passes, Kap making bad mistakes, and running backs miss their openings, it does not matter how talented this team is. They will continue to play poorly on offense. The defense has been playing outstanding football, but the offense is just hanging them out to dry too often.
The 49ers are currently 4-4, heading out for back-to-back road games. We'll find out very quickly if this offense can turn things around. They are facing a Saints defense that has been mediocre at best. If the 49ers can figure out how to get out of their own way on offense, this is the kind of game where they could open things up a bit. And given the nature of the Saints offense, the 49ers offense is going to need to figure something out, soon.