5 underperforming 49ers who must play better after Week 6 bye

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Samson Ebukam, San Francisco 49ers
Samson Ebukam #56 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The 49ers are far from out of the playoff picture but need a turnaround after a 2-3 start leading into the bye, meaning these five players have to be better.

The San Francisco 49ers needed an early bye week this season. While a bye towards the very beginning of the year isn’t always preferred by teams, it should at least afford the opportunity for the 2-3 Niners to refocus, regroup and prepare for what should be an easier stretch of games after dropping the last three in a row.

If anything, San Francisco could be 5-0 to start the season. The last three losses were certainly winnable games, and the 49ers were in a position to do so. At the same time, though, the opening two wins weren’t exactly statement victories of the one-sided variety, so a 0-5 start could have been just as feasible.

There can be a lot of blame to go around for the frustrating start and inconsistent performances. But a good chunk of it all can fall on a number of players who are expected to deliver at a higher level than what’s been seen.

Particularly these five, who’ve been notably underwhelming in 2021 but will need to contribute more in the upcoming weeks.

No. 5: 49ers EDGE Samson Ebukam

Remember earlier this offseason when the hope was free-agent EDGE Samson Ebukam was going to be the youthful up-and-coming pass-rusher who’d pair perfectly with fellow EDGE Nick Bosa amid the likelihood EDGE Dee Ford wouldn’t return because of his back injury.

Well, Ford returned, which is great. And Bosa has been playing at an All-Pro level this season, which is great, too.

Ebukam, however, has been notably absent despite appearing in all five games, still failing to register a single sack and having a mere one quarterback pressure despite playing on 37 percent of all defensive snaps thus far.

This could be fine, as long as both Ford and Bosa stay healthy and fresh. But the eventual wear-down between now and the end of the season will mean supplementary pass-rushers like Ebukam have to pick up the slack.

Considering Ebukam never had more than 4.5 sacks in any single year before joining the Niners, it’s not likely his stats suddenly jump off the table now.

Still, San Francisco will need an uptick in his production in order to keep Bosa and Ford rested.