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Jim Harbaugh: Offensive struggles about more than Kaepernick

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49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a miserable game in last Sunday’s loss to the Panthers, completing 11-of-22 passes for 91 yards and an interception in a game that saw the 49ers produce their least net offensive yards since 2006.

Kaepernick was criticized in many corners following the game, but 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wasn’t willing to add his voice to the chorus on Monday. Harbaugh was asked multiple times about Kaepernick’s struggles and always responded by saying the entire offensive unit needed to improve for the 49ers to have better results in the future.

“Across the board, we take accountability,” Harbaugh said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “We’re not going to go through, dissect position-by-position, raking anybody over the coals. That’s not the best thing for us. We’ve got a tough game coming up. We’re not going to wallow in it.”

There are plenty of reasons to cite for the downturn of the 49ers passing game this season, including Kaepernick’s play, but there’s not much for Harbaugh to gain by making public declarations of blame for them on the day after a game. The fixes will have to come from within and they’ll have to come quickly as Sunday’s trip to New Orleans will be here before you know it.

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43 Responses to “Jim Harbaugh: Offensive struggles about more than Kaepernick”
  1. bucrightoff says: Nov 12, 2013 8:43 AM

    When you’re dead last in passing, who else can you blame besides the QB?

  2. andre504 says: Nov 12, 2013 8:55 AM

    Kaepernick is struggling going through his progressions, especially when Vernon is not on the field with him… People have to realize that even though he had a great season last year, D coordinators catch up with most QB’s and it is no surprise that they have caught up with him to this point. Kap has to just continue to work hard and focus.

  3. Logic says: Nov 12, 2013 8:59 AM

    While Kap isn’t playing as well as he did last season, the problem is much bigger than him. With Vernon Davis out they have no downfield threat, 0. They also have no receivers who can beat bump coverage. There’s a material difference when Vernon is on the field versus when he isn’t. Once Crabtree and Manningham come back and round into game shape along with a healthy Vernon Davis the offense will begin to click. It’s not designed to be an offense to put up 40 points, but they’ll consistently be in the mid 20s and win time of possession.

  4. calicokiller49 says: Nov 12, 2013 9:05 AM

    We would be worse with Alex smith. Kap had no time every play, thy know we are short handed in the receiver dept. so they just bring the pain, it got worse after we lost v.d. Everybody always talks about how great our o line is, but they were definitely the main problem on Sunday , not kap. He at least hung in there trying to find someone that wasn’t there. All the haters wanna throw kap under the bus, and say we should’ve kept smith. Me personally, I was so glad to see smith go,I was so tired of watching smith throw little 5 yd passes, or throw it out of bounds…he would’ve took 10 sacks on Sunday.

  5. tb49er says: Nov 12, 2013 9:06 AM

    If you are blaming Keapernick, you didn’t watch the game. The offensive line was horrible and the receivers couldn’t get open. I am sorry, but this offensive line has been overrated for 2 years. The niners need a healthy Davis & Crabtree.

  6. eastcoastninerfan says: Nov 12, 2013 9:20 AM

    I take that as code that we need to stop scheming one-receiver read plays as a good defense can always shut that down (cough, Greg Roman, cough).

  7. goldrush36 says: Nov 12, 2013 9:23 AM

    nope not just Kap starts with the overrated line. Best run blocking line. middle of the road at best in pass protection. Then you have the receivers lack of ability to quickly separate and relieve some of the pressure. Or catch the dang ball when they do. Then it trickles down to play calls and Kap’s pre snap adjustments. Kap’s struggles have been more mental than physical. Ultimate blame is Harbaugh’s and Roman’s. They are trying to turn Kap into Alex and that isn’t his style. They also put wayyy too much faith in Kyle Williams and ultimately Manningham’s return. They should’ve made the move for Gordon. Had they done so this conversation likely doesn’t happen. I love that Harbaugh always has his players backs but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and cut bait when someone is just no good and a better player is available.

  8. theysone says: Nov 12, 2013 9:23 AM

    He was also sacked 6 times for -45 yards, making his net passing for the day a Tim Rattay/Ken Dorsey/Cody Pickett like 46 yards. He did improve in one area though, he didn’t fumble this week!

    Harbaugh chose to keep the wrong QB.

  9. johnnyjagfan says: Nov 12, 2013 9:24 AM

    Harbaugh is becoming more and more of a Kaepernick apologist with every passing week’s press conference.

  10. jimmyt says: Nov 12, 2013 9:28 AM

    Ppssttt! Hey coach, little not-so-secret for you, you, uh, kept the wrong quarterback.

  11. scmems07 says: Nov 12, 2013 9:35 AM

    no, it’s kaepernick, it’s pretty obvious. funny how he looks just as lost and has just as bad mechanics as tebow, also has to be in the same system as tebow to be successful yet people are still making excuses for him. he should thank rishard mathews for getting him into the nfl while playing at nevada.

  12. j0esixpack says: Nov 12, 2013 9:36 AM

    He’s probably right… but there’s also the phenomenon of opposing teams being challenged by a new, decent QB for which they have no game film

    Give opponents a full off season to study game tape (yes folks – other team DO film games and signal calling – not just the Patriots) and opposing DCs often find a way to neutralize a young QB’s effectiveness.

  13. cherrybop says: Nov 12, 2013 9:37 AM

    This guy is killing my fantasy football teams. I’ve actually dumped him for Alex Smith in at least two leagues.

  14. Berger says: Nov 12, 2013 9:39 AM

    The problem is not Kaepernick. The Problem is Greg Roman. He needs to Cam Cameroned like what Baltimore did last year. He is as bad as Jimmy Raye when it comes to play calling and game planning a passing game.

  15. mrlaloosh says: Nov 12, 2013 9:43 AM

    “Who’s got it better than us!”. This past weekend you lost at home. The Jaguars and Bucs both won. This week, they have it better than you.
    The fix is obvious. New QB and head coach.

  16. otis52gsh says: Nov 12, 2013 9:45 AM

    No they really aren’t. He has defiantly regressed. The o line has also taken a step back, but when they can’t run the ball Kap isn’t able to throw the ball effectively, unless they are playing GB. I’m not even sure he can read a D yet.

  17. marklar1025 says: Nov 12, 2013 9:46 AM

    you (rightfully so) get rid of a guy whos a game manager type QB because the new guy can do more. He gets you to the Superbowl running the pistol. New season starts and the pistol has been abandoned. Its not like it has been run to no success – just completely abandoned all together… I dont get it.

  18. osiris33 says: Nov 12, 2013 9:46 AM

    Kaepernick is 1 read QB. Take away the run and force him to go to his 2nd or 3rd read, he can’t do it. He simply is not intelligent enough to Handle an offense that goes beyond handing the ball off or throwing to a wide open 1st option.

  19. barbeaux says: Nov 12, 2013 9:47 AM

    I thought tmzspn christened him as the best NFL QB ever…

  20. dcapettini says: Nov 12, 2013 9:47 AM

    Bet you wish that you hadn’t given Alex Smith away, huh Jim? What is he now? 9-0!

  21. poridge1214 says: Nov 12, 2013 9:58 AM

    Only blame QB when Alex Smith is your QB. When it’s Kaep, the whole team is struggling.

    In the reverse, when the team is succeeding, it’s b/c of Kaep, and not the defense or running game.

  22. rayvens says: Nov 12, 2013 9:59 AM

    completing 11-of-22 passes for 91 yards and an interception in a game that saw the 49ers produce their least net offensive yards since 2006.
    ————————-
    and i would still take Kap over Alex

  23. raiderseliminatedfromplayoffsalready says: Nov 12, 2013 10:06 AM

    Cue the SeaDucks fans chiming in about how many Super Bowl rings they have. Oh wait…Millenium fans.

  24. rcknrog11 says: Nov 12, 2013 10:09 AM

    Good luck in NOLA!

  25. pdidit09 says: Nov 12, 2013 10:11 AM

    Missing your game manager who happens to be 9 and 0 on that other team you gave him to.

  26. mythaimyke says: Nov 12, 2013 10:12 AM

    Kaepernick Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, not even a 1 year wonder!!!!!!!!! You wanted him Jimmy boy! Now you got him!

  27. tennesseeoilers says: Nov 12, 2013 10:23 AM

    I’m one of these guys that’s pulling for Kap and RG III for the long haul, but I’m glad they’re both getting seriously humbled right now. Simply put, they haven’t handled the quick rock star fame they received with the same gracious poise that Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck have.

    I’m tired of the self-generated RG III show hype that kicked off in the offseason and the sudden condescension (toward his own critical fans) and blatant ego that Kap put on display at the same time. Both guys have been conducting themselves much differently than they did last season. I want THOSE guys back. And I want them to ROCK on the football field.

  28. jgarcia050 says: Nov 12, 2013 10:41 AM

    kap is def at fault..he looks like a deer in headlights out there, no confidence. but I think the play calling has been absolutely dreadful. the read option doesn’t work if u hand it to the rb every time, how bout kap keeping it once in a while. it looks as if the coaching staff doesn’t want him to run as much and that’s his game. they’re trying to make him just a pocket qb and that’s not his strength. harbaugh and roman have to take some blame here.

  29. slick50ks says: Nov 12, 2013 11:02 AM

    It didn’t take NFL defenses long to put an end to the gimmick offenses.

    This has all been tried and exposed before people. Nothing new to see here.

    The run and shoot was more effective and had a longer shelf life, but it too was put to pasture.

    It’s not all about keeping QB’s healthy, but a pocket passer will ALWAYS be more effective in the league. It’s the only way to counter the speed of the game.

  30. sixaceduece says: Nov 12, 2013 11:03 AM

    Before anyone blames Kap, look at the man who’s in charge of the offense: Greg Roman.

    Frank Gore had 61 yards on 12 carries in the 1st half, 2nd half.. FOUR carries for 21 yards. In a FG deciding game, why would you go away from what’s working?

    If losing Vernon Davis completely collapses the passing game, you have to ask yourself how good of a strategy was it if it’s based on ONE player. Roman is relying on defenses to key on Davis, so other people can get open?

    What about the total lack of crossing patterns or when a defense is attacking your QB on a down-to-down basis a SCREEN PASS stops that, how many were called on sunday? Not one.

    If find it amazing that bums off the street can come in and play well for every other team in the league, but in SF none of the receivers can get one. A good OC can scheme players open.. we dont have one.

    Let’s not forget about how Roman under-utilizes the talent. 2nd round pick Vance McDonald has 6 catches in 9 games because Roman can’t figure out a way to get him the damn ball. LMJ, another 2nd round pick, sitting on the bench because Roman can’t figure out what to do with him either.

    The Niners have no speed at the WR position, pretty much a bunch of possession receivers that rely on YAC, if our WRs arent fast.. why is this fat moron calling down the field throws? Why not passes in 5-10 yard range. Roman has NO idea how to setup a defense in the passing game. He runs in the 1st half, and he’s convinced the defense will continue to key on the run in the 2nd half.. so he thinks he can throw.. when that doesnt happen, the fat moron has no counter.

    The Niners are a power running team, that lives on playaction passing.. so why is this fat idiot having our QB stand in the pocket, behind a O-line built for RUN blocking, not passing blocking and expecting them to hold blocks while our slow WRs try to get downfield? QB needs to get the ball out of his hands quickly, short-intermediate passing would do that, and then kill them deep off run fakes.

    When Roman was the OC at stanford, he was only in charge on the running game.. somebody else called the passes. Roman’s only experience calling passes was as a HIGH SCHOOL coach.. before that no OC experience. Don’t expect our players to do well if the OC is putting them in a position of failure. How can you explain giving Gore the ball on 4 times in the 2nd half??? Just like in the Colts game.. Gore was killing in the 1st half, 2nd half.. 3 touches.

    Kap, like most young QBs, needs to work on seeing the whole field and his pocket mechanics.. but he can’t work miracles if the fat idiot OC is putting in bad plays. Roman is chasing a Head Coaching job, and he’s trying to do things that his personnel arent built to do.

    Harbaugh either needs to take a page from his brother and fire the OC, or hire a passing coordinator or take over the play calls himself. Roman has twice cost the Niners a have by abandoning a successful running game in the 2nd half.

  31. blackfootkiller says: Nov 12, 2013 11:18 AM

    Whats even more funny than Kap’s abysmal play?
    The way he dresses like a 12 year old skate boarder for his press conferences!
    What a clown.

  32. tremoluxman says: Nov 12, 2013 11:41 AM

    So, basically if you have WRs who can’t get open or a lousy OL, then it doesn’t matter how good your QB is?

    Welcome to Vikings Land.

  33. mward5508 says: Nov 12, 2013 11:43 AM

    Sunday’s game was tough. It’s a game we should have won. Two things stand out for me.:
    1. I love Greg Roman’s offensive brilliance, but hate his offensive arrogance (See Mike Martz). It usually shows up when we are driving and have the other team on the ropes. He’ll cook up something exotic instead of just punching the other guys in the face, and it blows up on us (see pitch to Ted Ginn in game last year against St. Louis, or final series in last year’s Super Bowl).
    2. Greg Roman puts too much faith in a 58 percent accuracy quarterback (see final drive in last year’s Super Bowl.). Love Kaep, but he is not yet that quarterback we all hope he turns into. He is a gifted, athletic quarterback with with tremendous potential. But, so far this season, his best asset has been a defense that keeps other teams from scoring, His low completion numbers have been out there for all to see, but our local media seems to have strapped on the rose-colored glasses and barely if ever mentioned it. Other teams, I think, have noticed, and that may be why they have returned to stacking the box and coming after him (run blitzing). He has been sacked and hurried a lot this year. Right now, teams don’t fear him as a passer. We need a few more high percentage passes in the mix to slow them down.

  34. moosington says: Nov 12, 2013 11:47 AM

    Greg Roman’s lack of adjustments is ridiculous and should take a fair share of the blame.

    Taking Frank Gore, a fine receiving RB, out of the passing game is also a mistake, especially when playing a team that applies a ton of pressure.

  35. moosington says: Nov 12, 2013 11:52 AM

    “If you are blaming Keapernick, you didn’t watch the game. The offensive line was horrible and the receivers couldn’t get open. I am sorry, but this offensive line has been overrated for 2 years. The niners need a healthy Davis & Crabtree.”

    Their pass protection is overrated, their run blocking is not.

    Weird that Gore only got 4 or so carries in the second half of a “bar fight” type of game, when he ended the day averaging 5/carry.

  36. rublestiltzkin says: Nov 12, 2013 12:12 PM

    Harbaugh is right ya know, its about more than the quarterback. CUZ THE WHOLE TEAM SUCKS!!!! Haha haha haha haha haha. Face it, the Seahawks are the class of the division and the conference now, and for awhile.

  37. scmems07 says: Nov 12, 2013 12:38 PM

    it’s ok to just say kaep is not that good and they got rid of the wrong guy. the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. it’s not the play calling, it’s not the o line that was so great last year and somehow just fell off the map, it’s not the recievers because other teams have had reciever issues and still had good seasons and won games. it’s flat out the qb, he is lost, unable to run a traditional offense, the league has picked up the option and pistol offense and now they have to other outs because this is the qb they picked. when the defense is not worried about the qb throwing and beating them with his arm, it makes it easier.

  38. thebirdofprey2 says: Nov 12, 2013 1:12 PM

    More excuses for Kapernick from 49er fans.

    Other former NFL QB’s and people in the know say take away his first read and you have a mediocre passer who can scramble. Why else do you think his only two pass catchers are Davis & Boldin by a large margin and 49ers rank dead last in passing.

    Its not because you run the ball so much if that’s the case why is completion percentage under 55 % when teams are loading the box. Carolina did destroy the offensive line in passing situations but 46 yards in an NFL game, does that happen?

    Making it all worse at his press conference after the game, he takes no ownership of his mistakes or bad game. Says the “team” needs to execute better. Its not what the Panthers did, it was our bad execution. Good leaders take ownership of their mistakes so they can improve. You hear this from the Bradys, Brees and Mannings if a game goes south.

  39. kingcrusher says: Nov 12, 2013 1:30 PM

    Let’s see, I’m going to try to put this in an as “un-fanboyish” way as I can, though the ones who can’t see logic will obviously downvote it.

    Kap is bad for the team. He spends more time in commercials and kissing his bicep than he does in the film room. Coach has to baby him and try to coddle him to keep his emotions in check.

    The promise of a great QB from Kap is detrimental to the team. They had a safe QB that got the job done and was putting up amazing stats while winning (check out Smith’s record for the past 2 1/2 years).

    With Kap, we got a QB who was praised without earning it, got his start without earning it, and got Smith moved to KC without earning it. Look at where we’re at now.

    What did we have with Smith? A guy who was a constant student of the game, lived and breathed the game (how many commercials did you see him in?). We he kind of a robot boring (as in non flashy) QB? Heck yes, but the entire team knew what to expect and knew where their game had better be week in and week out.

    It’s called consistency, and without it… well… we have what we have now. I miss having Alex under center, and wish he were still here, but I’m very happy for him and his 9-0 Chiefs. I’m still a 9’er fan at heart, but I have to say I’ve been cheering Smith on every week, and hope he keeps it up. He was a class act, and every week, we knew what to expect. I just wish he were still here.

  40. joemontanafan says: Nov 12, 2013 3:48 PM

    While I agree with coach saying it was the whole offensive unit, it also comes down to coaching. Gore had some 11 carries for 60 yards in the first half against the best run defense in the league. What did the coaching staff do…? Just like against the colts, they went away from the run game and did nothing but pass. The O line was awful, Kaep had 3 or 4 chances when before he got sacked could have absolutely thrown the ball away. This was a team loss!!

  41. poopypetecarroll says: Nov 12, 2013 5:11 PM

    While a significant amount of blame should be placed on KAP’s shoulders as the leader and QB of our team, there needs to be some accountability for guys like Vance McDonald. He dropped a ball that would have put us in field goal range at a crucial point in that game.

    Our offensive line looked terrible (Anthony Davis really sticks out) and our play calling offensively is reminiscent of the Jimmy Raye years. It is so frustrating to watch the Niners revert back to old offensive patterns that i thought were long gone.

    Hoping we come to play against the Saints but am a little pessimistic.

  42. 9erking says: Nov 12, 2013 5:59 PM

    Kaep has lost confidence and Greg Roman play calling sucks Kaep is looking for two receivers teams are taking them away and he doesn’t check for anyone else. We have to much talent not to play better last in league in passing when he threw for over 400 yds week 1 we didn’t have crab or manningham then we had same guys we have now and people still think it’s because of receivers COM ON MAN! Coaches lets do better I believe in u guys lets get it go niners

  43. adderal says: Nov 12, 2013 10:12 PM

    first all the experts said he was on his way to being a top all time qb. Now they say he sucks. There wrong on both accounts. He is raw as he was coming out of a gimmick college offense. He has a ton of athletic ability and a cannon arm. Seems to me the reads and progression stuff is a teachable weakness that he can get better at. He’s played just over a full season worth of games and overall it makes for a good 16 games. Let it play out, in the long run his struggles might be good for the long term viability of the franchise as there not likely to give him 20 mil a year extension when coming into the season it looked like he was going to command that. Hows that flacco deal working out for the ravens.

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