The 49ers season is off the rails and headed for a pre-Jimmy Garoppolo oblivion

San Francisco is 1-4 and starting to resemble their 2017 pre-Jimmy G selves

John Dickinson
October 07, 2018 - 8:48 pm

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The 49ers needed a victory on Sunday against a winless Arizona Cardinals team to remain respectably mediocre.

Improving to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in C.J. Beathard’s 2018 starts ahead of a pair of nationally televised games against the Packers and Rams would have further curated the illusion that there is a tangible purpose left for this 49ers season.

Could they get to 3-5 at the halfway mark and maybe equal or best that with a more favorable second half schedule even while being forced to have turned the keys over to their backup QB? The possibility of a 6-10 or 7-9 finish would have been enough to believe the 49ers remain on the right track heading toward year three of the Shanahan/Lynch regime. It almost wouldn’t matter as much if the talent is actually there for the future because there would be a minimum amount of victories in place to prevent any significant concern to the contrary. It would be accepted that the 49ers are still progressing.

The 49ers did not get the win they needed despite running 92 offensive plays to the Cardinals 49 and despite possessing the ball for over 40 minutes in a 60 minute game as they lost 28-18 to the Cardinals thanks in part to five turnovers. At 1-4 the 49ers season is now completely off the rails and falling into a pre Jimmy Garoppolo oblivion. The 49ers almost certainly will be 1-6 after facing the Packers and Rams and with each loss they will look farther and farther away from respectability. In simplest terms, how we view the 49ers is about to change.

A big part of this season for the 49ers was to measure just how many deficiencies Jimmy Garoppolo could or could not cover up. He was able to be the deodorant to a 1-10 team in 2017 that led to a 5-0 finish and a 6-10 low bar for 2018. With Garoppolo out of the fold and with the 49ers losing already losing their most winnable game of October, everything is beginning to look different or become more magnified. 

Suddenly the 49ers offensive line is struggling with players gutting through injuries in an attempt to be effective. Couple that with the fact C.J. Beathard holds on to the ball too long which leads to turnovers and the 49ers are scattered in the passing game. Further complicating matters is the lack of a playmaking wide receiver. Pierre Garcon isn’t a number one, Marquise Goodwin can’t stay on the field and guys like Kendrick Bourne, Richie James and Victor Bolden appear to be nothing more than fringe roster players.

None of this will be masked by Jimmy Garoppolo’s presence. George Kittle is having an All-Pro beginning to his season but with teams knowing he’s the 49ers primary weapon in the passing game they will begin taking him away and forcing C.J. Beathard to throw to less desirable targets. Matt Breida looks like a player and when paired with Jerick McKinnon in 2019 that’s one position that appears to be lined up to be a strength in the near future.

The 49ers defense wasn’t a problem on Sunday but check back in two weeks after they go up against the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff. The 49ers continue to be unable to rush the passer and their secondary looks void of any young talent ready to step on to the field and contribute at a consistently high level. Their best player in the secondary by far has been a 30-year old Richard Sherman coming off an Achilles injury and it looks like they have no more than four players that are bonafide keepers for 2019. What is true now will only look worse as the 49ers record continues to plummet.

John Lynch and Kyle Shanhan aren’t going anywhere in 2019 but the decisions they’ve made are going to be more closely examined between now and the end of the season and the criticism will be more harsh because the worse the 49ers record is the more bereft of talent their roster will look. There will be no more benefit of the doubt, One could make a case the 49ers have seven or eight of the afore mentioned keepers on offense to go with as few as three or four on defense. That number coupled with a three or a four win season is going to be considered way too low for a regime that will have two full years at the helm. That number will have to double for this team to be competitive in 2019.

It will probably have to triple over the next two years for them to become a legitimate playoff contender. They will have to hit on more talented pieces than the ones they have and the ones they’ve drafted with less margin for error and greater expectations b/c of Garoppolo’s return.

Everyone expected the 49ers to take a step back when Jimmy Garoppolo went down but but with the loss on Sunday, the upcoming schedule, and the lack blue chip talents on the field that step back may  closely resemble what the 49ers looked like before Jimmy Garoppolo was even acquired.

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