The 49ers have not won up north since 2011, can they buck the trend of the last five-years?
While the San Francisco 49ers came out and laid an absolute egg in their week-one loss 23-3 to the Carolina Panthers, there were some reasons to provide optimism to the team and fanbase.
The offense did show signs of life at times, only to shoot itself in the foot even more. Numerous errors, including false starts, illegal formations, and dropped passes that were on point, ultimately led to the team being humiliated.
The good news is that these are mistakes that can be fixed. Discipline, attention to detail and better concentration at hauling in passes can all be focused on and addressed moving forward. Here we look at three key aspects the 49ers have to fix in order to have a shot at victory against the Seattle Seahawks.
3. Manufacture a pass rush
Aaron Lynch needs to be active. Last Sunday against the Panthers, the 49ers saw one of their top sack producers inactive for the game even though he was healthy and able to play. Head coach Kyle Shanahan called it a coach’s decision to keep Lynch out of uniform and that they wanted to have more depth on the inside.
With the 49ers lack of a pass rush against Carolina QB Cam Newton, it would make sense to ensure that Lynch is active and ready to go against a suspect Seahawks' offensive line. Lynch was also the only player in the preseason to generate a multiple sack game, doing so against Kansas City.
The NFL is all about adjustments and as such is Lynch is in street clothes once again, Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will be hard pressed in explaining why the team’s leader in sacks the last three-years is inactive for the second straight week.
2. Cut down on the penalties
10 penalties for 74 yards can be too much for a good team to overcome on any given week in the NFL. For a team like the 49ers who are trying to find their way and establish an identity, it’s a death sentence.
From falses starts to illegal formations, all the way down to personal fouls that extend drives. The 49ers much clean up their game in all facets if they hope to have any chance at all this Sunday.
That starts with coaching and ends with execution on the field. Again these are correctable mistakes, it will be incumbent upon Shanahan and his coaching staff to get that part of their game right.
1. Make Changes along the offensive line
Plain and simple, the 49ers need to replace OG Zane Beadles at right guard this weekend against Seattle. As noted in my article on why OL Laken Tomlinson should replace Beadles, the latter posted a 23.1 grade from Pro Football Focus last Sunday. In case you’re wondering, that was good for the worst score of any guard who played that day in the league.
The 49ers announced this week that they have released OL Brandon Fusco, making it almost a certainty that undrafted rookie, Erik Magnuson will get the start in his place. We know that neither Beadles or Fusco was the answer at either guard spot, as such something has to change.
This is not to say that Laken Tomlinson and Erik Magnuson are the answers along the offensive line, but after last week's lack of quality play, they can’t be much worse.