The pressure is on for five 49ers to avoid 10-game losing streak
Feeling the heat
The 49ers are on the verge of setting a franchise record. And that is not a good thing to anyone associated with the organization who expected better than the longest string of failure since the 49ers became the 49ers in 1946.
The team has tied the club record with nine consecutive losses, which was set in 1978. They must find a way to snap the Miami Dolphins’ five-game win streak to avoid setting the franchise record in futility with a 10-game losing streak. Here are five 49ers who bear the brunt of the pressure to snap out of the losing streak.
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5) Trent Baalke
Of course, his work is mostly done for the season. There’s really nothing that could be done to dramatically improve the team’s roster after the draft. But it was not until the start of the regular season that everyone can see what kind of talent has been accumulated.
Only the Cleveland Browns have been worse than the 49ers this season. The Browns are winless. The 49ers have just one victory, coming with a 28-0 victory over the L.A. Rams in the season opener. But the worst part is that the 49ers have not been competitive, and none of their young players has shown Pro Bowl promise.
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4) Carlos Hyde
Running back Carlos Hyde is the central figure of the 49ers’ offense. But his season has been largely a disappointment. Hyde leads the 49ers with 529 yards rushing and six touchdowns, but he is averaging a less-than-ideal 3.8 yards per attempt.
Hyde had success at Ohio State while running out of the spread. But the 49ers’ power-blocking offensive line and Hyde have not been a combination to result in a consistent ground game. Hyde still has a tendency to dance too much. He must run aggressively against an active Dolphins defensive front.
3) Jaquiski Tartt
Tartt, the second-year safety from Samford, takes over for free safety Eric Reid, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn biceps. Tartt started eight games as a rookie in place of Antoine Bethea. More will be expected of him this time around.
He can play close to the line of scrimmage to defend against running back Jay Ajayi, who has 802 yards rushing and a 5.6-yard average. And he also must defend against Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is completing 65.9 percent of his passes with a 91.1 passer rating.
2) Colin Kaepernick
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick left the door open for a return to the 49ers for the 2017 season when he talked about the team using the final six games of the season to build toward next year. Kaepernick must convince teams, including the 49ers, he is worth having around.
Kaepernick has appeared to take some strides in recent weeks. At times, he has played well. But, it seems, he hits a rough patch in every game in which merely the act of completing a pass becomes a difficult chore. Kaepernick and the passing game must smooth things out, stay in rhythm and play with consistency from start to finish.
1) Chip Kelly
After the 2014 season, Baalke passed on Dolphins coach Adam Gase to hire Jim Tomsula. After one disastrous season, Tomsula was fired and Kelly was hired. But this season has been even worse than last year under Tomsula. Kelly’s offensive system has not been a compatible match for the players on this team.
All the concerns about the negative impact of Kelly’s offense on the 49ers’ defense have been realized. Now that Kelly’s been in the NFL for four seasons, there are legitimate questions whether his system has any chance to succeed in the NFL. Right now, it’s not looking good.