San Francisco 49ers: Lack of offense concerning in preseason


If week three in the preseason is really considered the dress rehearsal to the regular season, then the San Francisco 49ers have a really bleak future offensively. It was another stagnant display from Colin Kaepernick with rushing being the only highlight in a 19-12 loss to the Denver Broncos. How big of an issue is it as we head into the season?

ALSO ON SPIN ZONE: Top players you can’t trade in 2015

The offense hasn’t been all bad with the rushing game having success again. A lot of it was from Kaepernick, who had a 34-yard scamper on the final drive of the first half.  Carlos Hyde and Mike Davis had 28 yards on the ground each, with Reggie Bush adding in one carry for 21 yards in his debut.

More from San Francisco 49ers

Going back to that final drive in the first half, it was the only success the quarterback really had. He finished the night completing 2-5 passes for a net yardage of zero — two sacks eliminated the 13 yards gained, including one sack in the endzone that gave the Broncos a safety. The passing game only had a lot of success under Blaine Gabbert, who completed 9-11 passes for 96 yards.

There were no passing touchdowns (none for the 49ers at all, just four field goals) and the running game was more of a focus than passing. Overall, the offense couldn’t get anything going against a really good effort from the Broncos defense.

Of course, there’s no reason to hit the panic button yet. While all of it may sicken fans, there’s been a lot of playing around with the team, especially on the offensive line. That’s been part of the reason for its terrible play. Matt Borrows of The Sacramento Bee noted the issues but Jim Tomsula seems to have a grasp on who he will start on the line.

"It was marked by lapses — mostly on the right side of the line — false starts and botched snaps. Each of those errors made an appearance Saturday.  Afterward, Jim Tomsula said “things are becoming more clear” on the offensive line and that the answers are on the roster. He intimated that he and his assistants would settle on a starting five in the next few days."

In this case, the third preseason game really wasn’t a dress rehearsal for the 49ers. They’re still experimenting and the play calling has been, well, pretty boring. We shouldn’t see the same issues, including way too many penalties (13 on the team overall on Saturday night), crop up during the regular season.

August 1, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers offensive line coach Chris Foerster during training camp at Levi

However, the offense is still concerning because of Kaepernick looking extremely uncomfortable in the pocket. That was one of the main concerns in his game when working with Kurt Warner, and early on everything he learned hasn’t converted into success.

It’s even more glaring when it’s compared to Gabbert, who looked much more poised — probably because most of his success came out of the pocket.

Even though the offensive line has understandably struggled, that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues. Especially on the right side, there hasn’t been any players that have locked down a position. Center Joe Looney has been placed on the second team and Marcus Martin was the new starting center alongside rookie Ian Silberman at RG.

Sacks are also an issue again. Part of it is on Kaepernick, but the blame has to be shared to the line not keeping the opponent away.

Again, we shouldn’t expect things to be this bad when the regular season starts, but it doesn’t help when the offense looks this dismal after one of the worst offseasons a team can go through. It’s looking as productive as it did under the Mike Nolan era, where the field goal kicker tended to be the offensive MVP. That’s never a good sign.

Next: San Francisco 49ers: If...And...But for 2015

More from NFL Spin Zone