San Francisco 49ers: What ‘big’ changes must happen for success


The San Francisco 49ers were shown just how far behind they really are in a 20-3 thrashing by the Seattle Seahawks at home. It was a terrible display of football just days after collecting their second win of the season. Now there’s rumblings of potential changes coming. Let’s evaluate and determine what should be happening for this team to have any success from here on out.

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First, let’s take a look at how bad the loss was. Defensively, there were some good moments. The Seahawks continued to give up sacks on Wilson, and the signal caller threw a few picks, including one toward the end of the first half when Seattle could have made it 24-0 at the break.

Everything else was terrible. This was the equivalent of the Bears-Seahawks snorefest where Chicago punted it at the end of all their possessions. The 49ers had one that ended on a field goal, but it came when it was too little, too late.

After the game, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area hinted that there were some murmurs behind the scenes of changes that will be happening. He didn’t dive into specifics, but the entire franchise wasn’t happy at what’s been going on this season.

No kidding.

Aug 15, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; San Francisco 49ers chief executive officer Jed York before the preseason NFL game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Changes to the front office?

Many expect Jed York (A.K.A. Mr. Hold Me Accountable) to throw general manager Trent Baalke under the bus for any continuing failures. It could happen at the end of this year if disaster continues, but it won’t be immediately.

Besides, what’s holding this franchise down is York’s incredibly childish ego. The same guy that tweeted apologies after the Thanksgiving beatdown by the same opponent on the same field one season ago was absolutely silent after a worse showing. But he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, so this won’t be the big change.

Changes to the coaching staff?

Honestly, this is what should be changing. I don’t want to be too harsh on Jim Tomsula, especially just seven games into his first full season as a head coach, but him and his staff look completely outmatched against good coaches and better opponents.

Colin Kaepernick will get a lot of blind blame by fans, but more hate should be thrown at the coaches. He looks uncomfortable in most of his snaps, and last night’s game against the Seahawks resulted in him not having one rushing attempt.

Wait, wait…no rushing attempts? That’s the equivalent of sending Peyton Manning (before this season) out there, but telling him that he can’t use any audibles. Kaepernick is flawed, he’s isn’t that good, but trying to make him look like a pocket passer makes him look like he doesn’t even belong in the league. You should never regress this badly so fast.

Also, I don’t understand a lot of decisions by Tomsula and company. Why kick a field goal when it’s fourth and short deep in the opponent’s side late in the contest? The 49ers were down by three possessions with a minute and change left in the third quarter. The team essentially packed it in, and proved that theory by punting it with around seven, four, and three minutes to go in the game.

With all that being said, I don’t foresee any coaching changes at the moment. Tomsula should be replaced, and let’s hope somebody can come in and know how to use these pieces on the 49ers offense.

Changes on the field?

Oct 22, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) is brought down against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at Levi

Luckily, it seems that more fans are catching on that more blame falls on things other than Kaepernick. Without question, he’s looked absolutely lost at times, and it takes terrible defenses in the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens to make him look competent.

It’s time to scrap whatever plans they had for Kaepernick this season. He may ultimately not even be a good quarterback, and he played like he was scared against the Seahawks defense. He’s clearly intimidated; Torrey Smith, who was covered by Richard Sherman, saw just one target.

The last time Kaepernick looked passable against the Seahawks? The 2014 NFC Championship Game, where he had two interceptions, but ran the ball 11 times for 130 yards. He needs to have the freedom to take off with the ball, otherwise this offense always has the potential to go into a shell like last night.

Unfortunately, these “big” changes will probably start here. Part of me believes that Kaepernick deserves another shot with a coaching staff that actually knows how to use him, but since they aren’t going anywhere this season, I believe they’ll turn to Blaine Gabbert sooner rather than later.

When the team moves on to Gabbert, that will all but cement the Kaepernick era under center. It may give the team a jolt, the passing game couldn’t look any worse, but having him as a starter won’t fix much long term. It doesn’t have any lasting power.

It won’t just be the quarterback, either. Some of the talent will likely be traded. Vernon Davis needs a new home. Anquan Boldin has been more than displeased at the end of multiple games. Perhaps there will be personnel changes on the offensive line or on defense.

There’s plenty that needs to be fine tuned, but San Francisco is extremely limited in what they can do. The problem is that most of the blame starts at the top and becomes less when you get to the coaches and then the players on the field. That’s unfortunately not where any changes, or the upcoming huge decisions, will happen.

Next: San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick's job is on the line

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