San Francisco 49ers: How They Can Get Their Mojo Back

Sep 22, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive back Delano Howell (26) after making a catch in the third quarter at Candlestick Park. The Colts defeated the 49ers 27-7. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers haven’t had a particularly great start to the 2013 NFL season, as they’ve fallen to 1-2 after Week 3. The loss to the Seahawks in Seattle was understandable, but they were completely blown out, and their offense was only able to tally a mere three points on a field goal. When they came home to face the Colts on Sunday, the result wasn’t anymore desirable, as they lost 27-7.

It seems like the Niners’ defense and offense are hiding, and if they want to start winning games, they’ll obviously have to break their slump.

All the hype surrounded the potential chemistry of Anquan Boldin and Colin Kaepernick, but since the first game, they haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye on their passes. Other teams are taking away Kaepernicks’ options at a long pass, and stifling him when he tries to run for the first down.

Frank Gore has been in a slump for these three games as well, but had some first quarter success against the Colts. Unfortunately for him, however, Jim Harbaugh and the coaching staff didn’t call many plays after that. After the game, Gore had “choice words” for Harbaugh. This definitely isn’t the first time that a running back has had problems with the coach, but for the Niners, it surely means trouble.

The season may still be young, but the Niners haven’t been under .500 since Harbaugh took over two seasons ago. Last season, the Niners were feared for their defense, but were also crafty when running their offense. Now, however, Kaepernick has no time to run, no time to find an open receiver, and all of the running backs are getting stopped after just a few yards gained.

How can the Niners fix their offensive problems? They need to rely on the running game a little bit more. Gore seemed to be having some success against the Colts, so maybe some more carries would be advantageous to him and the Niners. Gore is a solid, proven player, and it’s only a matter of time before he starts to perform well again.

As for the receiving problem, there’s no sense in waiting until Michael Crabtree returns to full health. The 49ers receivers need to make more of an effort to get open. Some cuts towards Kaepernick would be helpful, and outrunning the defender right off the bat would give Kaepernick the chance to through a long pass, an area where he has shown his skill.Right now, the receivers haven’t been getting open for him, and this results in some sacks, and balls thrown away. Boldin can’t be open every time. The other receivers are going to have to step up their game.

The defense isn’t performing well either. Aldon Smith, as most have already heard, was arrested on marijuana possession and suspicions of DUI. He will not play against the Rams on Thursday, and he may be out a bit longer because he wants to “fix” the problem that he has. He played against the Colts, but didn’t have a Smith-type game, even if he recorded five tackles. The Niners’ cornerbacks are struggling to stay on opposing teams’ wide receivers, and the linebackers are struggling to suffocate the opposing teams’ offensive line, which means the quarterback has plenty of time to make the right decision.

How can they fix their defensive problems? The Niners should experiment with a few different combinations of linebackers and defensive linemen in different orders until they find a way to break the wall and rush the quarterback like they’ve done in previous years.

But Smith is out indefinitely. The Niners will somehow have to manage without him, but they need to be able to attack the quarterback and put pressure on him.

As for defending the wide receivers, the cornerbacks should be playing a little bit off of them and watch for the ball. Of course, this is fundamental, but if they are out-run, the opposing team’s quarterback will find the open receiver for a 20-yard gain. Risking less yards — like five — is a better gamble than 20.

It’s easier said than done, but the 49ers need to get their mojo back sooner rather than later.

Topics: San Francisco 49ers

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  • loverpoint

    Unfortunately the 49ers have an offensive coordinator that seems to be thankful that he can ride the coat tails of Jim Harbaugh.

    In the NFL Greg Roman in 2011 was able to have Alex Smith game manage while the offense depended on special teams and defense to win games. The game winning catch by Vernon Davis against N.O. was not a play designed by Roman but was designed by QB coach Geep Chryst the week before the game. Greg Roman did not incorporate slants in his playbook, nor did he have any kind of game plan in the RED ZONE.

    2012 was the year that showed how conservative and predictable Greg Romans offenses were. Not only were his offenses still not showing up in the 1st halves of games – Low Offensive Production. Greg Roman still had not really improved on his RED ZONE play calling. This even became more evident in the playoffs and Super Bowl in which the 49ers trailed every one of those games going into HALFTIME.

    Greg Romans personality is becoming contagious, He is a Ho-Hum shrug his shoulders kind of guy.

    Now he is entering his 3rd year and the 49ers have not led once at halftime, Their RED ZONE percentage is in tack because they have hardly been in the RED ZONE, Their 3rd down efficiency is reverting back to 2011 figures after it had improved slightly in 2012.

    Greg Roman is treating Colin Kaepernick like he did Alex Smith in 2011 and how he treated Andrew Luck in his college career. He treats them like they are stupid children.

    Other evidence of Romans way to conservative and restrictive offenses;
    1) Ted Ginn Jr. is leading Carolina in TD receptions, and second on the team in receiving yards. He is averaging 20.5 yards per catch. Ted Ginn left because he said the 49ers would not include him in their offense.
    2) Alex Smith is having fun and has said that he likes playing for KC because SF was to restrictive and did not allow him to test or develop his skills.
    3) Delanie Walker is proving to fit right in with Tennessee and making significant contributions.