THE SANTA CLARA
October 29, 2015
The 49ers can’t be happy with their 2-5 start to the season, but they can’t be surprised either. San Francisco had a disastrous offseason. To make matters worse, they faced a brutal schedule, as five of their seven opponents made the playoffs last year.
It’s not a bold prediction to say that the 49ers won’t see the postseason this year. But that was all but certain the day they let Jim Harbaugh go. So whether or not that was the right decision (it wasn’t), the 49ers have to embrace the rebuilding process. It’s a new era, and even seven wins would be a successful season for this team.
It’s been ugly so far, with the 49ers currently having the worst offense in the National Football League, along with a mediocre defense. But it’s vital that the 49ers practice patience in addressing these issues. San Francisco should know by now that brash overreactions (like firing Jim Harbaugh) just reek of desperation and only cause more problems.
So that means San Francisco must stand behind Colin Kaepernick. It’s absolutely absurd to even suggest a quarterback change at this point. Blaine Gabbert isn’t good at football, and the 49ers won’t find a better option in the draft. Kaepernick has already proven he can be a top quarterback in this league, and you don’t let a player like that go. A move like that would be just as foolish as firing an elite coach like Jim Harbaugh (alright, I’ll stop).
The offense has looked anemic with Kaepernick at the helm, but he shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. It’s true that Kaepernick struggled mightily against Seattle, but that’s bound to happen when the offensive line doesn’t block for him and the receivers don’t get open. Kaepernick was sacked six times and had practically no running game to rely on either.
It may not seem like it now, but the 49ers have the pieces in place to turn things around. Their defense isn’t very far from returning to dominance, with Aaron Lynch emerging as a premier pass rusher, NaVorro Bowman back to form after his devastating knee injury, and Kenneth Acker developing into a shut down corner.
The offense has some more work to do, but the talent is still there. Carlos Hyde is third in the league in rushing, and Torrey Smith has shown glimpses of his explosiveness. An extra playmaker and a fortified offensive line would do wonders for Kaepernick and the 49ers offense.
San Francisco’s schedule will ease up the rest of the way, but at this point it’s not about wins and losses. It’s far more important that young players, like safety Jimmie Ward and defensive end Arik Armstead, continue to improve.
There’s no quick fix to retuning this team to relevancy.
Right now Jim Tomsula’s first year as head coach seems underwhelming, but if he can continue to develop the young talent on the roster, it’ll pay off in the near future.
Andrew Slap is a junior communication major.