SANTA CLARA – Balance and patience.
Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, now an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area’s coverage of 49ers games, believes his old team will need plenty of both qualities this season in Kyle Shanahan’s first year as head coach.
Running back Carlos Hyde gained 44 yards on seven carries against the Carolina Pathers’ stout defense in the first half of the 49ers’ season opener. But after the Panthers scored two field goals late in the first half and added a touchdown on their first possession of the second half, the 49ers were forced to abandon the run.
In the first half, 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer completed 11 of 15 attempts for 88 yards and had a well-thrown pass 40 yards down the field go through the hands of receiver Marquise Goodwin. But Hoyer and the 49ers' offense struggled in the second half as they tried to play catchup.
“The way this offense works is through balance,” Garcia said on the “49ers Insider Podcast.”
“And the way Hoyer can be successful is through balance. He is not going to be your pure drop-back, Drew Brees, 50-times-in-the-air type of guy. He’s an efficient quarterback when he’s given an opportunity to have that rhythm.
“When it’s forced upon him to be an every-down thrower, that’s not how this team's makeup is going to allow them to be successful. They don’t have those kinds of weapons.”
The 49ers’ regular-season opening roster is comprised of 30 players who are new to the organization after the club went 2-14 last season, prompting to the firings of general manager Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly.
The 49ers’ 23-3 loss to the Panthers to kick off the Shanahan-John Lynch era featured plenty of physical errors, mental errors and some miscalculations as the 49ers unsuccessfully went for it on fourth downs in the second quarter, leading to Carolina field goals.
But the 49ers’ less-than-inspiring opener does not necessarily mean there is no hope for the season, Garcia said.
"There has to be some patience," Garcia said. "They can walk away from this game and realize, 'There’s a half-dozen plays out there -- six plays -- that if we just execute better, if we don't make the mental error that we made, this is a different ball game.'"