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49ers have been unable to keep defenses honest

Playing the 49ers? Blitz away!

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is worried about the team’s struggles against the Arizona Cardinals and in general. The biggest issue has been the offensive line play, which hasn’t held up at any point this year.

Usually, when teams blitz, the opposing team has some openings they can exploit in the face of said blitz. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is often under fire, but the 49ers have been unable to capitalize and make opposing teams pay.

“I think that’s where we haven’t been able to dictate what the defense is doing and that’s the goal," Shanahan said prior to Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. "I don’t want to just bang my head against a wall and do stuff over and over. I want to find the weakness of the defense and attack that and make them change to open up other stuff. We haven’t done that consistently enough.”

Shanahan said that other teams are running run blitzes to try and force the 49ers into doing certain things, and it’s working. Against the Cardinals, the 49ers were able to get the ball to Carlos Hyde in the passing game a few times, and that was a big first step, but largely, 49ers opponents have been able to do whatever they want on defense.

It doesn’t help that Hyde is one of the only viable options remaining in general on offense. They have suffered some pretty serious losses at wide receiver, including Pierre Garcon being out for the season. Without the threat of getting the ball out quickly to Garcon, teams are going to blitz Beathard even more.

The 49ers lack the means to stop opposing teams from doing whatever they want to them. Part of that is a general lack of talent and the other part is a long, long, long injury list. Will Garoppolo be given more respect than Beathard? Probably, but at the end of the day, he also has nobody to throw it to.