Just in time for all Hallow's Eve, the San Francisco 49ers' locker room resembles a haunted Civil War hospital. Men with broken orbitals and forearms, stretched ligaments, bruised brains and strained necks are lurching around the facility seeking treatment for their wounds.

The real horror show isn't a mangled body or a hospital bed procession making its way down 4949 Centennial Boulevard; no sir, the real disgusting mess is the regression of the 49ers as a professional football team.

Week after week, this team becomes harder to watch. The press conference one-liners about "getting better" and "taking a step forward" or "watching the tape" have grown a thick, green mold.

Getting outscored 73-10 over the last two games is nowhere near getting better. I'm not a sap or some football rube, and I'm tired of the team treating me as such.

Last evening's huge trade for New England Patriots' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo may finally land the team in the victory column, but the team is so far down the rabbit hole that a repair may end up being for naught.

How did the 49ers come to find themselves in such a loathsome state?

"I beheld the wretch – the miserable monster whom I had created." Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus. Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones. 1818.

The 49ers did and continue to make some minor accomplishments to look encouraging. Indeed, defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is having an exceptional season. Of course, the executive staff resembles a laboratory of mad geniuses for resigning defensive lineman Leger Douzable just in time for him to have a five tackle, two sack performance against the Philadelphia Eagles.

That strategy, however, isn't 'brick-by-brick.'

Until last night, the front office had been trying to build a team with minimal talent for the lowest dollar, heaps of witty marketing, a resurrection of Bill Walsh's ghost, and shocking the creation to life with a bolt of lightning. The 49ers' top brass wants the opposition to fear this mangled monster and the fans to praise its leadership; in reality, it's the executive office and inept coaching staff who are the real villains.

I'm withholding judgment on the Garoppolo trade, mostly because the same people who tried to sell us on veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley are now ready to sell us a player who's attempted 94 passes in his career.

We bought into the Hoyer experiment for a moment, but once the season started, we quickly saw through the lie.

We begged for rookie C.J. Beathard, but he's struggled through two-and-a-half games as a professional quarterback, notably his accuracy and throwing a football with almost no power behind it. But Shanahan is overly obsessed with the passing game and asked Beathard to throw the ball an average of 36 times per game while calling an average of 22 runs.

Now, we'll get to see Garoppolo call the signals in a few weeks, but he'll be behind the same porous offensive line that the same front office failed to address in free agency or the draft.

"It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet." Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus.

Aside from last night's trade, Shanahan refuses to alter the offensive strategy or game plan. On the other hand, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh deserves our applause for trying to find the right pieces for his defense.

This past Sunday, he finally benched second-year cornerback Rashard Robinson for rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, who played a solid game despite giving up a touchdown pass.

Earlier in the week, Saleh announced that safety Eric Reid would be playing linebacker, which is a desperate move to find a few sparks of success. He's also started squeezing talent from rookie defensive lineman D.J. Jones and has safety Jaquiski Tartt playing his best football in the last three years.

Saleh and his defense are doing the best they can with each challenge they face. Sometimes success looks ugly and weird, especially when Saleh calls a defense that asks the defensive tackle to drop into coverage. However, Saleh crafts a good scheme that's capable of containing even the NFL's best offense.

Once the defense succeeds, failure takes over; the crowd groans in disgust when the 49ers' offense cannot capitalize on a short field or shift the game's momentum. When it's not the 49ers' receiving corps dropping a catchable football – they have 27 drops on the season – we'll see Shanahan call a toss play on 3rd and 11 that loses a yard. Not surprising, the 49ers' offense is 15-for-43 on third down attempts over the last three weeks.

"I was benevolent and good – misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous." Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus.

A long time ago in a dusty football parking lot that hugged the Bay, 49ers fans brought an '87 Duckhorn merlot, smoked tri-tip sandwiches, and Great-Grandma Wilma's famous potato salad for a section tailgate party. They shared Super Bowl and playoff memories, high-fiving one another as their kids re-enacted The Catch and The Drive in between the parked cars and trash cans.

Today, because of the 49ers' abject failure to build a relevant team, we've become bitter. We're nasty with one another, we're quick to rant and point a finger, and all to measure our Faithfulness through a plastic keyboard.

I've shared my thoughts on how to improve the offense and defense in months of previous work. Maybe the answer is and always has been Garoppolo, if not for this season then for 2018. For now, we need to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But, I'm not a coach. Like you, I watch the 49ers each Sunday on television and remember what it was like to be five years old and wear my Dwight Clark jersey on game day.

Right now, all I want from this organization is a return to relevant football. Find ways to win games. Go after real players with real talent that came make an impact on and off the field. If it takes the 1997-98 Turlock High flexbone offense and 50 shovel passes to score points, then so be it.

I just want my spirit to sleep in peace.
  • Bret Rumbeck
  • Written by:
    Bret Rumbeck has been writing about the 49ers since 2017 for 49ers Webzone and 49ers Hub. He is a Turlock, CA native, and has worked for two members of the US House of Representatives and one US Senator. When not breaking down game film, Bret spends his time seeking out various forms of heavy metal. Feel free to follow him or direct inquiries to @brumbeck.