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Whoís head should roll? - By Bryan Hersh OCt 31 2006

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It has taken me an extra day to collect my thoughts on the 49ers latest defeat. I searched endlessly for a silver lining and the best I could come up with was the second quarter. The 49ers ACTUALLY OUTSCORED the bears 10-7. I mean sure it was against many second tier players, and sure the 49ers were already down by 41, oh heck, I canít make this positive no matter how hard I try. The truth is, this was one of the worst games I have seen the 49ers play in, in years, and that speaks in mammoth proportions considering how bad this team has been over the past 4 years.

The team was without motivation, without discipline, and well without the ball. Yes, without the ball, because they kept turning it over time and time again. The defense was nowhere to be found, and when the offense did touch the ball it could make only frugal attempts. The offensive line, despite having Larry Allen and Jonas Jennings back was dismal Ė mainly because of the continued poor play of Kwame Harris.

So now that the picture has been painted Ė the question is why. Why are the 49ers this awful? And can they get better?

These are questions I have truly wrestled with. There have been accusations that the coaching is the problem, accusations that the front office is still the problem. Of course the players too have shared the blame, as has the system, and even the ownership. So where does the blame lie?

Truth be told I think that itís a little on the coaching side, and a lot on the players side. There is no talent on defense. The few players with any talent, like Bryant Young cannot turn the game around for the rest of the failing defense. The players simply are not there to be competitive in this years NFL. So the 49ers canít stop anyone, and when they turn the ball over, over and over again, they canít score either.

I find it hard to believe that the coaching staff is not stressing holding on to the ball, or sticking with receivers, or generating a pass rush. I know that the coaching staff has tried different schemes and drills to try and compensate for these deficiencies. But tat the end of the day, the job is not getting done, and so I figure Ė the coaching staff is incapable of hiding this teams weaknesses. This is the first time since Mike Nolan has taken charge that I have really questioned what he and his staff are doing with the team on the field. I have in the past questioned player transactions, but overall I was seeing the bigger picture. That picture is foggy now. I trust the coaches to make good decisions, but I am beginning to think that there will need to be some changes in order to restore the confidence the players have in the coaching staff.

Hereís what I know. And you can mark my words. Mike Nolan will have to produce similar growth on defense between this year and next as he did on offense between last year and this year. If not, heads will roll.

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