No. 3: Shore Up the Penalties
A year ago, the 49ers would have likely lost a lot of games in which they were penalized frequently.
San Francisco is still getting penalized often, yet it’s winning games. It could be a sign Kyle Shanahan and Co. have turned a page, in terms of talent. But winning games against tougher competition will be exponentially more difficult if the penalties continue.
Through three weeks, the Niners have a total of 25 penalties called and accepted against them, which is tied for fourth worst. Eight of these have been the pre-snap variety, which is right in the middle of the pack. So that’s a good thing, but the remaining flags have been more than problematic.
In total, these infractions have cost the 49ers 233 yards — fifth most in the NFL.
Shanahan dealt with a high number of penalties last year, before the team started to cut down on them later in the season. While there were plenty of other factors in the mix last year, it’s not hard to see why the Niners started winning a handful of games during that final second-half stretch when they were getting flagged less frequently.
Using the bye week to clean up the penalty department will go a long way in ensuring San Francisco keeps atop its competition moving forward.