San Francisco 49ers: 5 Biggest Weaknesses Entering 2016
After two offseasons filled with disappointment, the San Francisco 49ers are left with plenty of holes to fill. With all these holes still to fill, Niner Noise breaks down the 49ers’ five biggest weaknesses going into 2016.
In San Francisco, saying “the past two offseasons have been very disappointing” might just be an understatement.
In 2015, the 49ers lost one of the best head coaches in their history when Jim Harbaugh was fired in a “mutual” parting of ways. After that, two of their all-time great defenders, linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Justin Smith, retired. The Willis retirement was much too soon and very shocking. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was still recovering from an ACL injury, suffered more than a year earlier in the 2014 NFC title game, and the 49ers chose to replace Harbaugh with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula instead of coaches like Jack Del Rio or Mike Shanahan. Tomsula may have been a team favorite, but all hope seemed lost.
Then something magical happened.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced head coach Chip Kelly’s firing just one week before the 2015 season was over. The 49ers decided that they had had enough of the Tomsula experiment and, on January 14, 2016, the 49ers swooped in, hiring Chip Kelly to be the team’s 20th head coach.
The 49ers had been looking for someone with NFL experience, but without too much age, and Kelly fit the bill perfectly. He and general manager Trent Baalke shared a lot of the same ideals, and Kelly was also an offensive head coach who could turn around the team’s fortunes on that side of the ball.
That’s about as much excitement as 2016 has had so far though. The Niners had a good draft, but their passive approach in free agency has left a lot of experts questioning the franchise’s desire to win. Pro Football Focus graded each team’s free-agent approach and only two teams (Cleveland and Denver) had an equal-or-worse grade than the 49ers’ D-plus mark.
Needless to say, this has left the 49ers still with holes to fill. They really can’t fill holes at this point, so where are the holes and how can they mask them a bit? Find out as Niner Noise breaks down the 49ers’ five biggest weaknesses entering 2016.
Next: No. 5, Lack of RB Depth