Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“We’ve been our own worst enemy”: Kyle Shanahan on how the 49ers can rebound from 3-game skid

Marc Adams
Oct 23, 2021 at 8:28 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers self-scouted themselves during the bye week. What are the areas they saw that require improvement to snap their three-game losing streak?

"There isn't one specific [area]," Shanahan told Greg Papa during a segment for NBC Sports Bay Area. "We need to get better all over because it hasn't just been, 'Hey, we're doing this bad. We're doing this good.' We've been up and down at everything, and if you even look at the numbers, we're kind of middle of the pack everywhere. And that's why the majority of this league is sitting at 2-3, 3-2, right there. And where are you going to go from there?

"My biggest thing on what we need to do to get better is, I think you've heard our players say it a lot, but I keep talking to them about, 'Which team is going to do right longer?' And what that means is executing stuff in key situations. When you do go down the field, and you're doing well, you can't have two mess-ups and get a touchdown out of it and end up on a field goal. You can't have a drive stop because you can't convert on a third-down or a fourth-down.

"On defense, doing a bunch of good stuff but then not being able to get that turnover, or dropping it, things like that. The penalties, having those three holding calls on one drive, things like that that have to set us back.

"It's tough to win in this league, but when you beat yourself, it's almost impossible. I don't like to take any of the credit away from other teams, but I think we've been our own worst enemy here in these five games, and that's something that all you can do to improve that is just keep working, keep concentrating, and keep focusing on those things because it's not like you can just go out and yell at people for committing a penalty. I mean, you do, but that doesn't correct the problem. You've got to have them rep it over and over, and just get them to focus, and lock in every single day, block out the distractions. You get 53 guys doing that, you've got a chance to get some momentum, and you've got a chance for your team to collectively do right a lot more than we have been doing."

Additionally, Papa asked Shanahan what it was like having to trade DeForest Buckner. Shanahan didn't hold back, saying, "It was a miserable time just having to go through that, you know it's something…we didn't want Buck to leave at all, and I know he didn't either, and that was the toughest thing.

"When it is like that, you think you can make it work, going through the salary cap and everything, just coming off that Super Bowl, having to look at what they were asking for, what we thought we could do, getting into all that stuff. But it came down to just really three players to one player, and that was so tough because Buck is everything you want as a person, as a leader, and as a player."

When Shanahan mentioned three players for one, he was referencing the fact that if the 49ers kept Buckner, they would not have been able to keep some other players, who were free agents at the time, like Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward. And he was also including Javon Kinlaw, who they selected with the first round pick they received from Indianapolis in the Buckner trade.

Papa also brought up how great of a home-field advantage Levi's Stadium was in 2019, especially in the NFC Championship Game. He asked Shanahan how you go about getting that advantage back.

Shanahan replied, "We have to win."

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