49ers DC O'Neil responds to discussion surrounding his job security

49ers DC O'Neil responds to discussion surrounding his job security

Through half of the season, the 49ers are on an inglorious pace to be among the worst defenses in NFL history.

The 49ers have allowed 260 points. If they continue their pace and give up 520 points on the season,  the defense would rank second-worst all-time, ahead of only the 1981 Baltimore Colts, who surrendered 533 points.

The 49ers’ run defense has allowed 1,544 yards. The pace of 3,088 yards would rank only ahead of the 1978 Buffalo Bills (3,228) and the 1980 New Orleans Saints (3,106).

First-year defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil has received support from 49ers coach Chip Kelly, but his job results have sparked the conversation of whether his job should be in jeopardy.

“People can have their opinions. That’s fine,” O’Neil said on Tuesday. “There’s been three different coordinators here now in three years.

“I believe in what we’re doing. I believe in coach Kelly. Consistency wins in this league.”

O’Neil followed Eric Mangini, who served in that role on Jim Tomsula’s staff, and Vic Fangio, who was defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh for each of their four seasons with the 49ers.

“I think that is hard,” O’Neil said. “We can talk for hours about that and my beliefs, but I think when you’re consistent with guys and you allow guys to hear the same message and get coached the same way, there’s a reason the good teams in this league are really good.”

Kelly on Monday deflected criticism away from O'Neil, saying he does not believe just one person is to blame for the 49ers’ defensive struggles.

“Every coach we have is involved in it,” Kelly said. “I’m involved in it. Our D-Line coach, our linebacker coach, our secondary coach, Jimmy, our outside linebacker coach, we’re all involved in what goes on on the defensive side of the ball. So, I don’t look at it that way that there’s one person.

“I don’t think any of us are doing a good job on the defensive side of the ball.”

O’Neil said he agreed with Kelly’s assessment of the dire situation.

“We’re 1-7,” O’Neil said. “I do think we’re growing each week, but when we’re 1-7, nobody’s doing a good job.”

Kyle Shanahan explains end-of-game play calls vs. Packers


Kyle Shanahan explains end-of-game play calls vs. Packers

The 49ers had a chance to win the game with some production on their final three offensive possessions Monday night.

The 49ers had success on the ground with running backs Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida, but the first two of those possessions began with failed run plays.

Breida was stopped for no gain to open a series that began at their own 4-yard line. On the next possession, Mostert was stopped for a 1-yard loss when the 49ers took over at their own 23-yard line.

After Mostert’s run play, the 49ers finished the night with five consecutive pass plays in their 33-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. On the final play, quarterback C.J. Beathard’s pass was intercepted at the Green Bay 10-yard line. Aaron Rodgers took over, and the Packers finished it off with a game-winning field goal on the final play.

“You’re trying to win a game,” Shanahan said Tuesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “In hindsight when it’s over, anytime something doesn’t work, whether I like my play call or not, if it doesn’t work, you always wish you did something different.

With 1:49 remaining in regulation, the 49ers took over at their own 47. Beathard hit tight end George Kittle on a 7-yard pass. Beathard’s second-down pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage. And third down resulted in Beathard’s interception.

“I felt pretty strongly that they were going to come after us and bring more than we could handle in the run game, which usually leaves open a very good slant window,” Shanahan said of the second-down play call. “That’s what I thought was the best thing at the time. But they tipped the ball. They tipped it and we didn’t get a chance to complete it, which was unfortunate.

“But when you get into third and 3 versus an all-out blitz, there’s not many runs for that. That was the play that we didn’t make right there, and that’s what happened.”

49ers sign Tom Savage to be No. 3 QB; ex-Texan started seven games in 2017


49ers sign Tom Savage to be No. 3 QB; ex-Texan started seven games in 2017

The 49ers on Tuesday signed veteran quarterback Tom Savage to be the team’s No. 3 quarterback behind starter C.J. Beathard and backup Nick Mullens.

The 49ers waived tight end Cole Wick to make room for Savage on the 53-man roster. They also released offensive lineman Zach Golditch from the practice squad.

Savage, 28, appeared in 13 games with nine starts over four seasons with the Houston Texans. He started seven games last season, completing 56.1 percent of his passes for 1,412 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. He was a fourth-round pick of the Texans in 2014.

"He’s got a strong arm. He’s a very tough player," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He hangs in that pocket and plays the position well. I was a fan of his coming out of college. He’s gotten to play in a number of NFL games, so he’s been battle tested."

Savage and Matt Simms impressed the 49ers during a workout two days after Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 3. But the 49ers opted to sign Savage because of his experience of playing last season.

The other quarterbacks who tried out were Landry Jones, E.J. Manuel, Kellen Clemens, T.J. Yates and Kyle Allen. 

"He was in a tough situation in Houston that didn’t work out for him," Shanahan said of Savage. "But I got to study him this preseason when he was in New Orleans, and they have some similarities in their offense as ours."

Savage went to camp with the New Orleans Saints this summer but was cut Sept. 1. Shanahan said Savage received praise from Saints coach Sean Payton.

Savage will wear No. 14 for the 49ers.