Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports



I waited a couple of weeks to put my thoughts out there; "perspective," I told myself. I wanted to see how the 49ers would follow up their opening Monday Night win against the Vikings. Up next were two playoff contenders in Pittsburgh and Arizona. Specifically, the Arizona game would be a true litmus test for the Niners, as they would be playing an opponent that they know well in a place that they've proven they can win.

Well, we all know how that went.

I've gone on the record saying that I think that Jim Tomsula is a great person and has potential as a head coach if he is put into the right system. He has an endearing story of rising up from the bottom and making it big, all the while staying grounded once he made it big. However, what we've been witnessing the past two weeks is a systemic failure – a byproduct of inexperience and a lack of chemistry amongst the coaching staff.

Look, the numbers don't lie. Colin Kaepernick was bad – historically bad – but we're not here to talk about that. As Jim Tomsula said about the performance: "That starts and ends with me." The purpose is not to bash coach Tomsula, but more to look at where the system has failed in the last 2 games.

I realize that it's early in the season and that Tomsula deserves at least a full season with which we can judge him by, but the last two losses were eerily Erickson/Nolan/Singletary-esque. The unfortunate part is that this team is arguably more talented than any of those teams were.

On the surface, it appears as though the scheme from the Vikings game was drastically different from what we've seen the last two weeks. Unlike week 1, there have been very few designed rollouts, swing passes, and screens. The first two plays of Sunday came straight out of the Mike Singletary playbook, with running back Carlos Hyde getting stopped behind the line on each of them. This led to the 3rd and long on which Kaepernick threw his first pick-six.

Had offensive coordinator Geep Chryst displayed better game management and called a safer play – like a screen, swing to a running back or any other quick hitting play – the 49ers offense could have at least avoided handing the other team points on their first drive of the game. This also happened later on in the game when the Niners were own their own 1 and Kaepernick handed the ball to Hyde 2 yards deep in the end zone instead of just trying to sneak it forward to get some punting room.

Mismanagement of the game wasn't exclusive to just the offense. The defense once again struggled and let receivers (most notably future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald) run free and uncovered. Cardinals running back Chris Johnson had the most yards rushing that he's had in almost 3 years.

Just like in week 2 against the Steelers, 49er defenders were routinely out of place as Arizona was scoring at will. Had defensive coordinator Eric Mangini put the Niners best cover man, Tremaine Brock, on Fitzgerald (or on Antonio Brown the previous week), the 49ers would not have had to allocate a safety to come over and help with the double team. Having an extra defender near the line of scrimmage would have helped to stop Johnson. While Mangini is an experienced coach, he's never coached as a part of this particular coaching staff with this particular group of players.

I find it hard to believe that previously reliable players like Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Glenn Dorsey, Navorro Bowman, Vernon Davis and Torrey Smith have all of a sudden forgotten how to play football and are now ineffective. Football is about winning matchups, and each of the aforementioned players is losing their individual battles. Their ineffectiveness can be attributed to the scheme, or lack thereof.

After Kaepernick threw his second interception, Tomsula noted that he wanted to settle the team (and his quarterback) down. The 49ers did this by calling 13 consecutive running plays. Tomsula's inexperience showed as there were a number of other ways to "settle his team down"; he could have called a time out to talk things over, he could have ordered Geep Chryst to call quick-hitting pass plays to boost confidence and keep the chains moving or he could have just let Kaepernick play through it instead of putting the handcuffs on him. It could be said that his limited experience in that situation led him to come up with a limited number of ways to fix the situation.

The rest of the game continued on this way, with odd play calls and a limited passing attack. It's almost as if the coaching staff threw in the towel, but forgot to take the starters out. Leaving the starters in for so long and risking injury was definitely a rookie mistake. The game was long decided and Kaepernick was still running around and avoiding sacks - not something you want your $18 million/year quarterback doing. The better move would have been to let the backups get some time.

Moving forward, there are several areas that need to be addressed and it seems as if Tomsula is hesitant to give ineffective players the hook. More experienced coaches have a better pulse on their team and can sense when something isn't working a lot sooner, so they'll make changes sooner. My fear is that Tomsula will wait too long to make changes and the season will be lost.

In defense of Jim Tomsula, he's only had 4 games of experience as a head coach in the NFL and not everyone comes into the league and sets it on fire the way Jim Harbaugh did in 2011. Few people realize that the early games in a season also serve as an experimentation period for new coaches to see what works and what doesn't. It should be noted that inexperience also means inexperience working together as a staff. Right now, it seems like there's very little cohesion on the staff because the coaches don't know exactly what they have at this point, thus the odd play calls.

The good news is that there have been teams that have started off terribly, only to figure things out and become contenders. Tomsula has been great in accepting responsibility and being accountable. The schematic problems can be changed. The offense can call for more quick hitting plays like there were in week 1, the defense can play more man coverage and Jarryd Hayne can take DeAndrew White's spot on kick returns.

Make no mistake, Sunday will be a defining moment for Jim Tomsula's 49ers. Coming off of a losing streak and being embarrassed twice, let's just hope the 49ers can compete with reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Green Bay offense.

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