Through eight weeks, things aren’t quite going according to plan for the 49ers, but the sky is not falling in San Francisco and the season can be salvaged.
After losing their fourth game in a row to the Indianapolis Colts during Week 7, the San Francisco 49ers got back into the win column versus the Chicago Bears in Week 8. The win, pushing the Niners to 3-4 on the season, is good enough to land the team back in third place of the NFC West but still leaves them on the outside of the playoff bracket, looking in.
Before we can even begin talking about playoff scenarios, San Francisco needs to continue paying attention to detail and cleaning up the fixable problems.
Problems such as the uncharacteristically bad offense at times this season.
San Francisco currently has the 22nd-ranked offense in the league, which is baffling when you consider how intellectually gifted head coach Kyle Shanahan has become. He’s widely viewed as one of the youngest and creative coaching minds in today’s game. However, for all the praise and accolades Shanahan receives, he deserves a fair amount of criticism when needed.
Since becoming head coach of the 49ers in 2017, Shanahan only has one winning season to his credit, 2019. And while that stat can be misleading because of the horrendous luck he and his team have had, such as dealing with record-setting injuries in 2020, there are still question marks Shanahan has to answer.
Kyle Shanahan must be 49ers’ driving force to get back to success
For instance, a lot of what Shanahan likes to do within his offense is to run the ball.
Unfortunately for Shanahan and the Niners, the scheme suffered a huge blow when starting running back Raheem Mostert went down with a season-ending knee injury during the first game of the year. San Francisco’s spell-back rusher, Jeff Wilson, also went down to a knee injury during the preseason but has recently had his practice window opened and is expected to see some live action fairly soon. In the meantime, rookie tailback Elijah Mitchell has shown a great deal of promise, which bodes well for Shanahan and the offense.
Now, with all that said, the coaching staff must find ingenious ways to guide and adapt.
Related Story: Elijah Mitchell is the hero the Niners need right now
Simply put, guide these players to the promised land by putting them in the best possible positions to succeed. While doing so it’ll be a great idea to not leave your most talented players in the doghouse for too long.
As the coach, it’s imperative for the entire team and staff to be on board with the message and vision in place. When guys slip up or lose focus on the objective, it’s natural for coaches to reprimand players and use the experience as a teaching point. But don’t let the point of the lesson hinder team success by subtracting talent from on-field productivity.
Scold ’em, to mold ’em but don’t ever hold ’em back from reaching their true potential.
Shanahan is a great offensive coordinator with such an innovative mind, but it’s fair to be a little perturbed about his head-coaching abilities. Turning that around, or at least improving upon it, will be inherently necessary if the 49ers want to revert back into a contender.