After dropping five of their last six games, there is plenty of blame to go around 49ers headquarters, but there is one person who holds the most responsibility.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan and several players have cited little mistakes and a lack of execution as the primary reasons they have been underperforming on the field. The biggest shock might have been their 31-17 loss to an Arizona Cardinals team that was without its top three players.
“Failure of execution starts with me,” Shanahan said Monday. “When plays don't work, no matter how it happens, it starts with the coaches. There’s tons of things that I can do better. Whether you're running the ball or whether you're throwing the ball, coaching your guys to execute a play, starts with coaching and then it leads to playing. So that goes hand in hand.”
While Shanahan is known for his offensive prowess, his handprints are on all aspects of the team. When the defense fails to stop Cardinals running back James Conner from gaining 173 total yards from scrimmage, it is defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ players and scheme that are proving inept, but it is still Shanahan’s team.
Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have been in the middle of a losing season before, but this is not your 2017 49ers roster. With All-Pros like George Kittle and Fred Warner on the roster along with 2019 Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa and eight-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams, expectations are sky-high.
The fans feel it and so does Shanahan.
“Yeah, I was pretty worked up last night, for obvious reasons,” Shanahan said. “Very disappointed there during the game, disappointed watching the film. I know that we can play a lot better football. That's for sure. I know we’re a 3-5 team right now.
“I believe that we should be a better team than that record and I know that starts with me.”
Shanahan is not surprised by the lack of patience from the 49ers' fanbase. He knows that that now, in his fifth season in Santa Clara, he needs to figure out how to get his team to perform.
“That's the NFL,” Shanahan said. “When you play like that, regardless of who they had out there. I expect that. That's what you always get. That's what you deserve. Fans want us to play well. They want us to win, whether we're at home or away, especially at home. It's been too long.
“We went into that game feeling very confident. I was very surprised on how the game went. I think our fans were too, and I know they're disappointed and I expect them to be. All we can do about that is work our butts off to get better and try to correct that next week at home at Levi’s Stadium again, versus the Rams."
Shanahan and his team have an extra day to prepare for a visit from a high-powered Los Angeles Rams (7-2) team that has been very difficult to stop. The Rams' offense in ranks fourth in the league, gaining an average of nearly 400 yards per game.