Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The harsh reality of the 2021 49ers

Chris Beno
Nov 9, 2021 at 9:30 AM--

Perhaps the expectations were too high going into the season. With a healthy roster that is almost unchanged from the 2019 Super Bowl team, the San Francisco 49ers were one of the heavy favorites to be a championship contender this season. However, through 9 weeks of football, only one thing is clear: this team just isn't good.

On paper, the 49ers have an exceptionally talented and deep roster. But the vibe surrounding the team has just been…weird. Almost like something is missing. There's a lack of urgency during the games. They are often falling behind quickly and struggling to put up points in the first half of games. Complacency, dropped passes, missed throws, not seeing open targets town field, missed tackles, missed blocks, and the list goes on. In each of their five losses this season, the 49ers have found ways to shoot themselves in the foot and compound their mistakes. And it all boils down to one thing; a lack of discipline.

In 2019, the leaders of the team were clear. Veterans Joe Staley, Richard Sherman, and Deforest Buckner were the heart and soul of that locker room. They were vocal, held players accountable, and more importantly, supported and coached up the young guys. Since then, all three players are either retired or are playing for another team, leaving a void in leadership inside that locker room. Following the 31-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was asked who steps up as the offensive leader when the team struggles.

"I think it's a group of us," Garoppolo responded. "I think, obviously, I do what I can on the sideline. Just, it was really about, we went through the lull in the beginning, and it was about having guys stay in the game. There was a lot of football left. We were down whatever, 17 early. And we were only in the second quarter,

"I think, and it was just guys had the right mindset, and we started to scratch back into it, but it didn't last. And then we had a couple three and outs, things like that. And it's just it's tough when you get behind like that early. I think we got a good group of leaders on offense that handle that."

Garoppolo didn't name anyone specifically, so, with an apparent lack in leadership, discipline, and the compounding of mistakes by both players and coaches, there needs to be a clear positive that everyone can rally behind. It is no longer just about this season.

As the saying goes, "you are what your record says you are," and the 49ers' record would indicate that they are struggling. At a minimum, getting their young players involved could shine a light on some type of hope for the future. Something to provide optimism, something to build upon. Maybe find some type of identity going forward. This is not a playoff team, regardless of what the rest of the NFC is doing. But the season doesn't need to be a total wash as long as the front office can provide something the team and fan base can be excited about.

With nine games left in the regular season, the 49ers haven't shown anything to give The Faithful hope in turning things around. While playoff hopes remain a possibility, the front office needs to show more urgency to plan for the future. After giving away two first-round picks and a third-rounder for the future of the franchise, quarterback Trey Lance, failure to start developing and planning for the future could set this franchise back for years to come.
  • Chris Beno
  • Written by:
    Coming from Elk Grove, California I grew up a Bay Area sports fan. I've been cheering for the 49ers for as long as I can remember. In 2005 I joined the Army when I was 18 and got stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I just kind of hung around here. I've always enjoyed writing and have typically focused on writing music. I am truly blessed to get to cover the 49ers, and have my articles published on the 49ers Webzone. I didn't realize it was something I wanted to pursue as a career, but am now focused on doing just that. I appreciate all of the Faithful that take the time to read the articles people put out there.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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