Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports



The San Francisco 49ers have taken a knee on the 2017 season - and that's a good thing.

No, that's not a reference to the often-discussed and overly-analyzed sideline protests of the National Anthem. It has nothing to do with oppression, political agendas, or the American flag.

Thank goodness, because everyone is tired of hearing about that.

The 49ers have been competitive, particularly defensively. The team has lost four straight games by three points or less, and has clearly shown that it is headed in the right direction despite the win-loss column being completely lopsided. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is gaining experience by the day, and appears to be the right man for the job. His team plays hard for him, often praises him for his football acumen, and seems to have bought into his approach.

The team appears to have stars in the making (see: Foster, Rueben, or Buckner, DeForest). The coach and general manager John Lynch are in lockstep with one another, and have improved the talent on the roster immensely in just one offseason. With matching six-year contracts, the duo appears poised to continue that upward trend of bringing in talent that better fits the schemes being implemented offensively and defensively.

But that's where the positives end.

The offense has been inconsistent. And that's not saying one week they're good, one week they're not so good. That's saying that one week they're average, the next week they're borderline awful. The run game has been decent. The passing game however, has left more than a little to be desired. Journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer is not the long-term solution, and as much as fans are clamoring for rookie C.J. Beathard to start, he's not for long, either.

The team is 0-5, and there's plenty of proof as to why. But is the team as bad as their record says they are? Probably not. And that, my friends, has placed the 49ers in the perfect situation moving forward.

Signs of improvement are there. The right coach and GM are in place. There's talent to build on. But winning meaningless games in what will ultimately be a terrible season record-wise would do nothing but harm. This team needs to bring in more talent, particularly on offense. More specifically, this team needs a quarterback.

Stop me if you've heard that one before.

Being winless will afford the 49ers the opportunity to select high, potentially first overall, in the 2018 NFL Draft. With an incoming quarterback class being touted as the best in years, things truly couldn't be any better for the team and the fanbase. The 49ers could potentially have their pick of USC's Sam Darnold, Wyoming's Josh Allen, or UCLA's Josh Rosen come April. And if they instead elect to sign Washington Redskins signal caller Kirk Cousins to a lucrative free agent deal, the team could land a stud offensive weapon such as Penn State tailback Saquon Barkley.

Many may be quick to point out that the players don't want to lose. They aren't worried about draft positioning. They step on the field each week with hopes of winning. As for the fans, most root for their team to win every week no matter the record, and they aren't necessarily wrong for doing that. But they are close-minded. There's a much bigger picture here. The future of the 49ers' organization hinges on the team continuing to lose.

Win enough meaningless games, and you could lose out on winning plenty of games that actually mean something for years to come.