I have tried to judge the 49ers season not by wins and losses, but by several different components based on progress. This was only one game, but if it is any indicator at all, trouble is brewing. With 5 penalties in a half of football the 49ers were well on their way to reaching the 10 mark they had posted in the previous two weeks. In the second half though the 49ers only posted 1, and so they were able to bring down the average penalties per game ever so slightly. Perhaps the referees just felt pitty, perhaps the 49ers were playing more within the rules. Either way, some improvement is better than none.
When it was all said and done the 49ers turned the ball over 4 times, amassed negligible running yards, had 6 penalties, and had the offense on the field for only 8 minutes in the second half of the game. The 49ers did not converted only 2 third downs the entire game. To expect to win under these circumstances is simply ridiculous.
It is quite easy to pinpoint where the 49ers biggest problem is – that the trenches without any doubt. The offensive line does not pass block or run block, and are merely pillars in the way of the defensive pursuit. The defensive line typically can run block, but they do not provide nearly the pass rush needed to disrupt an offense. A team lives and dies with the offensive and defensive lines, and the 49ers right now, they are dyeing.
Ken Dorsey, despite his fumbles and interceptions showed more promise in this game than in last. While he still does not have a touchdown and his redzone offense is far below average, he did manage to zip his passes to his receivers – when of course he was on his feet to do so. Dorsey was pounded all day, and with no run support the Seahawks had a field day. Doresy though needs to be much quicker at getting rid of the ball, especially under the type of pressure he was facing. His progressions too, need improvement.
Cederick Wilson dropped a pass this week, it was the first time I can remember him doing so. With no Brandon Lloyd, Curtis Conaway saw his second start and was far less functional than last week. Rashaun Woods saw the most play time of his young career. Two Dorsey attempts at Woods were intercepted, one in double coverage, the other was behind Woods, who reached back and tipped the ball into the air only to be intercepted. It is of course hard to be a receiver on a team with no running game or offensive line to speak of. Still there was nothing impressive about this group.
Kevan Barlow should be ashamed of his rushing performance. Fred Beasley and the offensive line were not opening up holes for him, but Barlow is supposed to be the man this year, he has to be able to put the team on his shoulders and quite frankly he has not as of yet, done so.
Special teams were nothing to write home about. They got the job done, with the exception of a long field goal that Peterson missed. I expect Peterson to be shaky over 43 yards, and so his missed kick does not bother me too much. Punter Andy Lee continues to be a huge improvement in our punting game, but really this group is lackluster, nothing overly good, nothing overly bad.
What can you say about a defense that gives up 34 points? Well for one, it was not very good. The defense spent way too much time on the field, and that was in part the offenses fault, but even still the defense has to be able to stand up and force the opponents off the field. They did not do this week.
The defensive line simply did nothing. Brandon Whiting is far from the Savior, and there is little doubt in my mind that John Engelberger is better on his side of the line than in Carters spot. As usually the linebackers were the best of the bunch but that does not say much on this day. The linebackers can not be expected to cover the entire field. Tony Parish finally got back on track, and Ronnie Heard was ok at safety, but the 49ers need Mike Rumph back. The teams cornerbacks without Rumph are too weak a unit to stop a passing game.
Week after week I see a NFL team that is not prepared to play football. That to me points to a coaching staff that is not doing its job. I have been hard on Dennis Erickson but I believe I have been fair. I am not impressed with play calling, clock management, the improvement or lack their of, of players, or the ability to fix mistakes. This game was a perfect example of why I feel this way. The team was flat. At no point did they look like they would fight for a win, and mistakes, the same mistakes as we have seen since last season were still there. This to me does not add up to good coaching. I know coach Erickson has received accolades, even from Bill Walsh, but I still do not see it. I do not see improvement, and I do no see good coaching. I hope that will change, but for now I continue to assert that Erickson and his coaching is a big problem with the 49ers.