The 49ers have a chance to break into the win column on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, whose only victory this season came against the winless Cleveland Browns.
The 49ers have proven to be competitive in their past three games, losing to Seattle, the L.A. Rams and Arizona by a combined eight points.
Of course, there are plenty of questions about the direction of the team for the remainder of the season and into 2018. Here are some of the questions that were left on our Facebook page:
If Hoyer continues to struggle, what are the chances of them going to Beathard or getting another QB? (Rick Orozco)
The last thing Kyle Shanahan wants to do at this stage in the season is make a change at quarterback. But if Brian Hoyer can’t get things together, Shanahan might not have any other option.
Still, unless Hoyer completely implodes, it is difficult to imagine that a change will be made in the near future.
It’s highly doubtful the 49ers would sign another quarterback unless there is an injury. If the 49ers need to bring in someone from the outside, that quarterback would likely be Matt Barkley. C.J. Beathard beat out Barkley for a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster. Barkley has traveled around the league for some tryouts, but he remains unsigned.
Hoyer was the first to get a chance to prove that he can be the 49ers’ starter beyond this season. At this point, it seems obvious he is not the long-term answer. So why keep him as the starter?
The 49ers know their roster is not built to win right now. This season is all about setting up the organization for the future. It was paramount that the 49ers brought in a quarterback this season that fits the offensive system.
Hoyer knows the system. And he is the style of quarterback that Shanahan envisions for the 49ers into the future. Shanahan made the determination shortly after becoming head coach that Colin Kaepernick’s skillset was not a match for his offense.
All things being equal, yes, I think it’s obvious Kaepernick is a better player than Hoyer. But if the 49ers retained Kaepernick this season, Shanahan would have been forced to make major tweaks to his offense to take full advantage of Kaepernick’s style.
Hoyer underperformed in the 49ers’ first four games. While he does not appear to fit into the team’s long-term plans, he serves a valuable purpose of being a placeholder at the quarterback position while helping prepare the rest of the offense for the future.
After all, every player on offense is learning and training in a way that will help them in 2018 and beyond. If the 49ers had a quarterback who does not fit the system, then this would be a wasted year for every player on offense.
Do you think Hyde, Reid, Tank, & Lynch get extensions? (Brenton Beirne)
I don’t think all of those players will get extensions. And two players I’d like to throw in there are right tackle Trent Brown and center Daniel Kilgore.
Although the 49ers spent a fourth-round draft pick on running back Joe Williams, I think Hyde has made a convincing argument that he should be part of the 49ers’ future. He is a very good fit for the offense. He would be even more effective if the 49ers had a more dangerous passing game. If it were up to me, I’d put Hyde at the top of the list for a three-year contract extension.
Jaquiski Tartt could make Eric Reid expendable. If I were a betting man – at this stage in the season – I would wager that Tartt gets signed to a contract extension after the season. I could see the 49ers trying to lock up Tartt and Jimmie Ward to long-term contracts to play those critical roles in the team’s defense. I'm not sure Reid figures into the team's future.
I don’t know that Carradine or Lynch would be big priorities to re-sign. Carradine is a role player, a rotational player. There does not figure to be a spot for him in the starting lineup as long as Solomon Thomas remains healthy and continues to develop.
Signing Lynch to any kind of extension is a risk. I doubt the team would make any kind of large financial commitment to him.
Brown is an interesting case. He is eligible for a contract extension at the end of the season. The rumblings are that it will be difficult to sign him to a new deal because he has leverage of being attractive to multiple teams at left tackle. If he waits another year, he could break the bank in free agency.
The only way the 49ers can sign him to an extension is if they offer him left-tackle money. Also, as well as he is playing, there are questions about whether he can sustain his motivation and consistency. The challenge for Brown will be to continue to work at a high level once he signs a lucrative second contract.
The 49ers like Kilgore a lot. While he might not be considered a top-10 center, the feeling within the organization is that the team can win a lot of games with him in the middle of the line.
After four games, what do you think is the biggest 49ers position need? (Oscar Palacios-Flores)
I’m not going to give you just one position because this is a team that is in need of a lot of help to become a playoff contender.
Here's my rundown. . .
Quarterback – The QB of the future is not on the team. The 49ers will look at the veteran market to land a player, such as Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo. If they do not acquire a veteran, they can use a high pick in the draft on the position.
Guard – Laken Tomlinson might be serviceable for the future, but the jury is still out. The 49ers will almost assuredly look to replace Brandon Fusco. The new regime does not seem sold on Joshua Garnett, who is ineligible to play this season after going on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery.
Wide receiver – This receiving corps would look a whole lot better with a true No. 1 guy. Pierre Garçon is very good. He’s a starter, for sure. But the 49ers would be a lot better with Garçon as the No. 2 guy. Marquise Goodwin is better-suited to a third option.
Pass rusher – The 49ers have a solid defensive line, but they lack a dynamic edge rusher.
Inside linebacker – Help is on the way. Reuben Foster will be back either next week at Washington or the following game against Dallas. The key loss was Malcolm Smith, whose season ended with a pec injury. He is expected to make a full recovery for next season.
Cornerback – Perhaps, Ahkello Witherspoon can develop into a front-line starter. Perhaps, Rashard Robinson can do the same. Perhaps, perhaps. In any case, the 49ers need to increase the skill level at this position. The only thing they seem to know for sure is that K'Waun Williams, who signed a contract extension last week, is reliable as the nickel back.