49ers aren’t what they were supposed to be

San Francisco 49ers Practice
Getty Images

The worst thing an NFL team can do is consistently fail to meet high expectations. For the past two seasons, that’s precisely what the 49ers have done.

Sure, they’ve had plenty of injury issues. But most teams go through stretches that test the depth of the roster. Regardless of reasons or excuses, the 49ers simply haven’t been very good in the two seasons after they had a 10-point lead with seven minutes left in the Super Bowl.

After Sunday’s 14-point loss to a Cardinals team that had neither Kyler Murray nor DeAndre Hopkins, the 49ers have now lost eight straight home games, including the first half of their 2021 home slate. They haven’t won a home game with fans present since dismantling the Packers in the 2019 NFC title game.

Speaking of eight, they’re once again eight games under .500 during the Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch regime. That’s 32-40. Take out the 13-3 record from 2019, and they’re 19-37. Basically, two losses for every one win.

As Mike Sando of TheAthletic.com noted, 2019 is the exception but it’s treated as the rule. That could soon change.

It doesn’t mean Shanahan or Lynch are on the hot seat. Three seasons after signing six-year deals that covered 2017 through 2022, they each received three-year extensions, through 2025. Although the initial deals famously include provisions that fully-guaranteed the entire amount of the deals with no offset language, no such reporting emerged as to the extensions. And those factors — how much Shanahan and Lynch are guaranteed to be paid and how much of that amount has an offset attached — will be relevant to when and if either Shanahan or Lynch land on the hot seat.

After firing three coaches in three straight years (Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula, and Chip Kelly), the 49ers craved consistency. They’ve got it with those six-year Teflon-coated contract, but they’re now consistently not as good as they’re supposed to be. With Shanahan and Lynch under contract for four more seasons after 2021, the question becomes when or if their positions will ride on turning it around.

In many respects, that will hinge on the development of quarterback Trey Lance. Whether it’s 2022 or 2023, Shanahan and Lynch eventually will be accountable for the status of the football organization. And they won’t have first-round picks to help make the team better in either of those seasons, thanks to the trade that brought Lance to town.

Given that Shanahan calls the shots and Lynch sets the table, it’s possible that Shanahan would be given a chance to hire a new G.M. before Shanahan ends up coaching for his job. Ultimately, those decisions will be made by Jed York, the man who once notoriously said that the owner can’t be fired.

Even if, in plenty of NFL cities, plenty of fans would say the owner should be.

23 responses to “49ers aren’t what they were supposed to be

  1. Shanahan gotta go.
    He can take Lynch with him.
    Unfortunately, york will probably keep them both.

  2. Kittle on the sidelines, losing SB LIV, saying “I will be back”. I remember watching that the first time and saying “No, you won’t”. Especially with Jimmy G. at the helm.

  3. Their roster is stacked, minus one position. And they just mortgaged their short term future for that position and whiffed big time. Heads should be rolling anytime in Santa Clara.

  4. How can a roster be stacked and the team can’t win? Their QB isn’t the worst in the league by any stretch. They just aren’t very good. Simple fact, pretty simple results.

  5. Most less knowledgeable fans will blame Shanahan, but a huge part of this downturn has been rookie defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Yesterday was the worst defensive game by the Niners in years. Kingsbury and his OC fooled Ryans on many plays. Fred Warner was constantly out of position because of the schemes. The linebackers were either too deep or too shallow on those screen passes. It didn’t help that a backup free safety Tavon Wilson was in for Jimmie Ward. Ward would probably have stopped a couple of those awful looking TD’s.

  6. The Dolphins are trying hard to provide them with a top three pick to help cure what ails them……

  7. Shanahan is acting like he doesn’t even want to be there. It’s very weird and conspicuous that he’s not even dressed so many of their high picks this season so often, even at positions they’ve been desperate to fill. It seems like he’s trying to publicly distance himself from the front office and “their” decisions…

  8. I’m not ready to skewer Lynch and Shanahan just yet. They were 2-14 the year before and the roster was totally depleted. It takes time. They have had some bad luck with injuries too.

    However, they did give up two first-round picks (2022 and 2023) for Lance so if he doesn’t pan out they’ll probably both be out of a job. Maybe that’s why they aren’t playing him.

  9. The negative on the niners is perplexing. Lynch has done a great job finding talent. Warner, Bosa, Mitchell, Deebo, Kittle, etc. That’s all young talent but we’ve had massive injuries. Kinlaw, Bosa, Mostert, multiple DB’s, Greenlaw, etc.
    You can’t play at a high level with washed up DB’s or guys off practice squads.
    Jimmy is a top 10 QB if his guys were healthy.
    Our problem is we have guys made of glass. Jimmy Ward always hurt. Mostert too. Kittle now is injury prone.

  10. that Emmanuel Sanders pass in the Superbowl was the moment. For Jimmy G, Kyle Shanahan, and Lynch. Now they really seem to be like two bandits wildly shooting at the wind.

  11. people keep saying their roster is stacked. i dont see the stackeness of this roster. some very good pieces for sure, but every team has these pieces

  12. They have had their share of injuries but we can pump the break on how Shanahan is a genius and can win with any QB? He needs a great team just like everyone else.

  13. Oh, you mean a Shanahan in the 2000s only winning 1 out of every 3 games? Sounds like par for the course.

  14. People keep blaming Jimmy G, but he’s not the only problem.

    Two fumbles by two 49ers receivers led to 14 points. The 49ers defense, without Salah, is not the same. They couldn’t stop Conner all day. He ran all over the Niners. And Kinsgsbury outcoached Shanahan.

    On top of all that, the Niners kept committing penalties…..and the refs helped out with a roughting the passer that was simply a great sack by the Niners D.

    Basically, the Niners failed in almost all phases of the game

  15. Shanahan is proving that he might be a genius at drawing up plays, but when it comes to play calling he leaves much to be desired. He won’t take a risk when it’s plainly called for. Like punting on 4th down in the fourth quarter Sunday when he was near mid-field and his team was getting whipped. He also overthinks things. Like he knows the x’s and o’s so well that if the opposing D is showing a certain look, he won’t run a play that look was designed to stop. Sometimes you have to dictate to the other team instead of reacting to them. Plus he and Lynch have completely messed with the locker room chemistry, starting with dumping Buckner. Their inexperience is glaring.

  16. There’s a lot of truth in here. I don’t like agreeing with Florio — in fact, I hate it. But he’s spot on in a lot of this article.

    There’s no need yet for Shanahan and Lynch to be on a hot seat. But Ryans, that’s a different story. I’ve never seen Fred Warner look bad until yesterday. They look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Couple that with the turnovers, the ridiculousness with Josh Norman, just really stupid, all of it.

    I listed my reasons I believe they’re not competitive in another thread, been watching Niner football for 38 years. But Jimmy isn’t even in their top three problems. Only thing good to come out of yesterday was Aiyuk’s performance, aside from the fumble.

    By the way, those of you who want to fire Shanahan and Lynch: remember Dennis Erikson? Remember Mike Singletary (the Niners coach, not his playing career)? Rememeber Mike Nolan? Remember Jim Tomsula? You’re out of your MIND if you want them fired. Let them fix it! Firing is not the answer! (Except maybe Demeco Ryans…)

  17. Not sure why this is surprising. Deforest Buckner was the best player on that 2019 defense and it’s fallen off since he left. I guess they get the benefit of the doubt after a super bowl run like Philly did in 2018-19 when the roster just wasn’t as good.

    Shanahan and Lynch certainly ate up the off-season attention after their big splash move for Trey Lance. That move now has the potential to be an all time draft disaster if he doesn’t pan out.

  18. “that Emmanuel Sanders pass in the Superbowl was the moment. For Jimmy G, Kyle Shanahan, and Lynch. Now they really seem to be like two bandits wildly shooting at the wind.“

    I like how people still think that Jimmy completing that Sanders pass and assuming they score a TD there would’ve won the game. With the way the secondary was playing, Mahomes probably scores again. So stop hanging onto that pass as the reason the Niners lost the game. The ineptitude and lack of talent in the secondary was the reason why the Chiefs got back into the game and why no lead was safe.

  19. They are what their record says they are. The Superbowl appearance was more of an aberration than the last two seasons were.

  20. It’s a curse. There is no other reason a team with that much talent can be this bad.

  21. Garoppolo went 28-for-40 for 326 yards and two touchdowns this past Sunday.
    He is NOT the problem and never was.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.