San Francisco 49ers: Wholesale Changes Needed after Ugly Week 8 Loss vs. Rams


The San Francisco 49ers should change almost every facet of their team after yet another uninspiring, ugly loss in Week 8.

San Francisco dropped its eighth contest of the 2015 NFL season to the St. Louis Rams. The 27-6 score tells most of what fans already know about the 49ers’ efforts this year: The defense is capable enough not to lose games, but the offense is more than anemic. And the coaching staff is entirely in over their heads.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is not the answer. And neither is the patchwork offensive line.

Worst of all, this is a 49ers team lacking any sort of identity, vision or direction. One may argue the 49ers are looking to bridge the gap via a rebuilding season. But where will that bridge lead?

Nobody knows. Except for the probability the results won’t be very good either in 2015 or beyond.

So what should the 49ers do from this point onward?

The Coaching Staff

Head coach Jim Tomsula is in over his head in 2015. Yes, he may have been a players coach and seen as a fresh face with a new approach in the post-Jim Harbaugh era.

Nov 1, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula reacts to a call during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

But the lack of experience as a head coach or coordinator is showing in a major way. Tomsula has stated he is involved with the offensive play-calling (a unit ranking dead last in the NFL this season), but a larger problem can be seen with personnel.

Despite having a last-place offense over eight weeks, the only notable change San Francisco has made is to install a rotation at right guard between linemen Jordan Devey and Andrew Tiller as pointed out by Jeff Deeney of Pro Football Focus.

Even more discouraging are some of the responses seen from NFL analysts from around the league. ABC 7’s Mike Shumann, perhaps, provides the most troubling insight:

Combine that with locker-room issues, trade rumors and the wholesale ineptitude within the organization, it’s clear to see Tomsula has no business effectively leading this team.

Tomsula isn’t the guy for the job, and neither is offensive coordinator Geep Chryst. Bay Area Sports Guy tells us what we need to know about Chryst’s efforts:

Time to go, guys.

The problem, of course, is who gets the nod as head coach and/or offensive coordinator after a release. It’s a worthwhile question. But, not only is the current approach failing, the 49ers keep repeating the same stale efforts week to week.

Tight end Vernon Davis has already been speculated as a possible trade candidate for the 2015 deadline. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Wholesale Changes on Offense

The 49ers should trade wide receiver Anquan Boldin, tight end Vernon Davis, left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Alex Boone and should release or place running back Reggie Bush on injured reserve.

NFL deadline deals, especially blockbuster ones, don’t typically happen. But, aside from Boone and Staley, none of the aforementioned players will be critical components of a 49ers team when it, eventually, is good again. And the 49ers have plenty of holes which will need filling during the upcoming 2015 NFL draft.

General manager Trent Baalke isn’t going anywhere, regardless of fans’ likely wishes, so one can only hope he has as many picks as possible at his disposal to try and turn fortunes around.

One of those picks should be considered for a new franchise quarterback.

Yes, Kaepernick is no longer the answer for San Francisco’s man under center. Benching him for the season doesn’t do any good, which changes the idea of wholesale changes. But, as Hall of Famer Jerry Rice stated, a move to No. 2 quarterback Blaine Gabbert could provide the shake-up.

“I am a true Kaepernick fan. 100 percent. I’m not saying bench him for the season, but sometimes you gotta shake things up,” Rice recently told TMZ Sports (h/t CSN Bay Area). “It could energize the team, and provide Colin the spark he needs.”

Who knows if the 49ers do this. But they should be looking at another signal-caller in 2016.

And for anyone who feels as if Kaepernick is still the guy around which San Francisco should build, just watch this:

Go with the Youth Movement

San Francisco probably should have enacted a youth movement after dropping its Week 7 contest to the Seattle Seahawks 20-3.

Safety Jaquiski Tartt is already being asked to step up in place of veteran Antoine Bethea. But this needs to happen everywhere possible.

Nov 1, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers strong safety Jaquiski Tartt (29) forces St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) to fumble the ball during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran linebacker Ahmad Brooks probably doesn’t figure to be a long-term piece in this defense beyond 2015 despite being signed through 2017 per Over the Cap. So the 49ers should employ a starting tandem of linebackers Aaron Lynch and Eli Harold as their outside pass-rushers.

And we should be seeing more snaps from San Francisco first-round pick Arik Armstead. Heck, any of the recent 49ers’ early picks (defensive back Jimmie Ward, defensive end Tank Carradine, etc.) should be getting the lion’s share of playing time from this point onward regardless of the results.

The same should be said of the offensive line. Devey, right tackle Erik Pears and center Marcus Martin can’t hold their own along the line. So the 49ers should consider starting young linemen like Brandon Thomas, Trenton Brown and Ian Silberman.

Again, regardless of the results. They can’t be much worse than what is being seen now.

What’s the benefit of going with the youth movement? Well, it clears playing time for players who are going to be with the organization for the foreseeable future. If they play well, like running back Carlos Hyde and cornerback Kenneth Acker, San Francisco will know those are pieces around which the team can build.

If not, the team will know, specifically, what areas need to be addressed via the draft and free agency.

Next: 49ers vs. Rams: Position Grades for San Francisco

But all of these should-do scenarios are, ultimately, at the discretion of the front office and general manager Trent Baalke.

And, judging by what we’ve seen between the conclusion of the 2014 season and Week 8 of 2015, we shouldn’t be expecting anything but the same drudgery experienced out of this 2-6 49ers squad.


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