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If 49ers continue to struggle, what 'silver linings' are you looking for

I want to see a more focused defense and Eric Reid pull out of this spiral if the 49ers are going to improve at any point this season.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have not been encouraging through three games of play. There were a few bright spots against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, but other than that multiple aspects of the team have shown extreme deficiencies in many ways.

You can point to Colin Keapernick's struggles on the offensive side of the ball or Kenneth Acker and Eric Reid playing well below expectations on the defensive side of the ball, but the fact remains there's a lot more wrong than those things. The issues are from top to bottom of the roster and really, from top to bottom of the organization.

The season is not lost and part of the reason I didn't write that much this week -- aside from a medical issue the briefly confined me to a bed -- is because I knew you guys didn't need me talking negative and fulfilling the expected narrative.

But rather than focusing on expectations for me and some perceived quota of doom I personally need to fill, I want to focus on the expectations for the 49ers. Maybe you predicted the 49ers would be a disaster and things are coming true, or maybe you're like me and you predicted that the 49ers will be fine ... something that hasn't manifested itself just yet but is still not totally out of the conversation.

Playoffs are not completely out of reach, of course, and anything can happen if and when the 49ers make it there, but I feel like there's plenty of room for adjusted expectations and on top of that, a moving target for what you do and do not need to see out of the 49ers to get something positive out of this season.

Again -- I'm not telling you to stop rooting for the team to win, and I'm not suggesting there's some kind of quest for a top draft pick three weeks into the season. But I am looking at the player-by-player evaluation and wondering what it is I'd like to take from each game if that game happens to go poorly overall. Was there anything against the Cardinals that could be considered a silver lining?

If so, what kind of thing do you really need to see going forward?

For me, I want to see a changing scheme on defense. More than anything, I want to see the defense change its zone, switch to man, change up its blitzes or switch the assignments when things aren't working out. I thought the defensive playcalling was actually mostly fine against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2, but it absolutely wasn't there against the Arizona Cardinals.

Eric Mangini's defense needs to be malleable. It needs to adapt. Shockingly, this hasn't been an issue for Geep Chryst's offense, the players on the field simply aren't executing on that front. I feel like the playcalling hasn't been terrible on that side of the ball.

On an individual player level, I really need to see Eric Reid pull out of this nosedive. I don't know if Kenneth Acker will develop into a good corner or not, but Reid was already an excellent safety but he has multiple season's worth of lowlight film through three games already. It's been really rough, and if this team is going to be competitive -- now or later -- Reid has to improve.

On a week to week basis, what I really want to see is an improved individual effort from multiple players. I'm a firm believer in a lot of the players on this roster, but so far few players are doing themselves or the team any real favors.