Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have a major issue at the quarterback position. In reality, it's been there for some time, but I guess there were enough games being won that it could be swept under the rug. We labeled the poor play as just a young player who was developing. Well that "development" is in it's fourth year now, and the results should be a lot better than what they are.

The truth is that Colin Kaepernick isn't the type of quarterback you can build your team around. Instead, he's at best a complimentary piece who needs a dominant running game and strong defense to win games. That's fine if you just want him to be a game manager, it's not fine when you gave him a $100 million contract to be the centerpiece of your team.

On the surface, his stats look fine. He's 26-16 as a starter in the regular season, with 52 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions overall. It's a decent line, but it's not until you peel that initial layer away that you start to see the real problems.

Kaepernick is inaccurate, struggles to read defenses, and has a hard time finding the open man. He often forgets about mechanics, still thinking he can be successful throwing off his back foot. While he can make plays in spurts, he lacks the consistency to really be able to move the offense.

Need proof? Well, a quarterback's job is to help his team score points, right? In the past 13 games, the 49ers have scored 20 points or less 11 times. Looking deeper, they've actually scored 18 or less in nine of those 13 games.That's what they call a trend, folks.

Currently, the Niners are the lowest scoring team in the league at 15 points per game and have only managed five touchdowns. That's especially bad when you consider five of the last eight quarters have basically been garbage time and they still can't put the ball in the endzone. Only the Chicago Bears have scored fewer touchdowns than the 49ers in 2015 and, going back to last season, San Francisco has 35 touchdowns in their last 19 games (or about 1.84 per contest). That's Jacksonville Jaguars' level ineptitude and, if you're wondering, the Jags have 29 touchdowns in that same time frame.

Kaepernick's had such a hard time managing the nuances of the quarterback position, that the coaching staff has admittedly stripped down the playbook for him. This isn't a rookie who doesn't know the offense, this is someone with 48 career starts (including the playoffs). In fact, the Arizona Cardinals' players found the 49ers' passing offense so elementary in Week 3, that they believed they knew what was coming .

"Their passing game has been simplified so much, it was easy for us to anticipate routes, said Cardinals' cornerback Tyrann Mathieu."

"We had a bead on what those guys like to do," said safety Rashad Johnson. "... I think Kaepernick was a little bit uncomfortable all game. There were guys in his face and he was never able to step in and throw it. He was always a little bit behind on his throws.

It got so bad, that the 49ers ran the ball on 13 straight plays early in the first half, even though they were down by two and three scores at the time. According to head coach Jim Tomsula, that was his call to try and calm everyone down. Wouldn't it have been better to get your quarterback a few safe throws to get his confidence back? Or maybe Tomsula didn't trust Kaepernick to do even that.

What's getting scary now is that the frustration with Kaepernick is starting to mount with the players. It's one thing for Michael Crabtree to knock him on the way out the door, but it's another for his own running back, Carlos Hyde, to slam him after a bad performance.

"I mean, it's not that you can't throw that," Hyde said. "It's just that you can't make that turnover. There were guys open. The ball just dropped down to the other person.

Now I'm not in any way condoning what Hyde said. It was unprofessional and you should never throw a teammate under the bus to the media. Inexcusable. But he did say it, and to think he's the only one that feels that way would be naive. What it does is give the impression that there's a rift developing in the 49ers' locker room. Considering it's possible things will get worse before they get better, this is a bad omen moving forward.

What makes matters worse is that even if the light did go on at some point for Kaepernick, the offensive line is so bad it might not matter. The retirement of Anthony Davis and injury to Daniel Kilgore has crippled this unit, and the decisions to replace them have failed.

Erik Pears and Jordan Devey are not starters in the league. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, especially someone who's running an actual NFL franchise. According to Pro Football Focus, Devey graded out at a minus-19 for the New England Patriots last season, and Pears had a negative-25 rating at guard for the Buffalo Bills in 2014. Pears was almost as ineffective at tackle the year before, finishing 55th out of 76 qualifiers.

Still, instead of moving Alex Boone over to right tackle and trying to make an impact move (i.e. a serious run at Evan Mathis), the 49ers tried to fool themselves into thinking what they had was good enough. The results are eight sacks through three games and a sack percentage of 8.1 percent. Not to mention the amount of times this unit has shot themselves in the foot with bad penalties or bonehead plays.

Tomsula has to change things up now, even if that means only benching Devey and seeing what someone like Brandon Thomas or Andrew Tiller can do. I mean, honestly, they couldn't play much worse.

As far as Kaepernick goes, he's not losing his job...at least not yet. Blaine Gabbert doesn't offer much in the way of competition, and for some reason the team has relied on signing failed starters to be their backup (Gabbert, Colt McCoy), rather then drafting someone they felt they could develop should Kaepernick falter. Kaepernick simply has to get better, and soon, or the dark ages could be on their way back in San Francisco.

Al Sacco has covered the 49ers for various sites over the years. He's been a guest on multiple podcasts and had his work used by ESPN NFL Insiders and USA TODAY. Follow Al on Twitter @AlSacco49