Killion: Dreary outlook for Harbaugh, 49ers


Killion: Dreary outlook for Harbaugh, 49ers

Ann Killion
The 49ers handed out rosters on their first day of training camp.

Tried to make a ham sandwich with mine. Thought it was a piece of Swiss.Yes, there are a lot of holes in the 49ers roster. Not little holes, but big gaping ones at key positions. Positions that successful NFL teams generally need.Like:A starting center. Eric Heitman was released on Thursday. David Baas agreed to terms with the Giants.A top-line wide receiver. Michael Crabtrees recurrent foot injury will keep him out of action for four to six weeks. In other words, Crabtree will miss another training camp.A settled secondary. The 49ers released Nate Clements for cap space, failed to land Nnamdi Asomugha who signed with the Eagles and may be in a bidding war for Dashon Goldsons services.A starting running back. Frank Gore didnt report to camp, looking for a contract extension, and no one knows when hell be in.An upgrade at veteran quarterback. Alex Smith was signed for a seventh year while more intriguing prospects like Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb went elsewhere.MAIOCCO: Harbaugh misses three key 49ers at campThey also lost a locker room leader in Takeo Spikes. But, hey, they replaced replaced Joe Nedney at kicker.The storyline from Friday was supposed to be all about the launching of the new and improved Jim Harbaugh era. Harbaugh was the big fish the 49ers landed in the offseason and to make no mistake - he was an important one.Hes the first offensive-minded coach the 49ers have had in seven seasons. He was the most coveted coach on the open market back in January. He brings a new enthusiasm and vigor to the 49ers. But instead of a happy storyline about Harbaughs debut, the news coming out of the 49ers this week was increasingly dismal.And while its true that the 49ers recent coaches have been disasters, the organization needs more than just a new coach. They need upgrades in personnel. So it was troubling to hear owner Jed York say in a conference call this week that the 49ers efforts would be focused on resigning their own free agents and that he thought the team was close to competing for the playoffs.On Friday afternoon, when the free agent period officially opened and the NFL Network was blaring Free Agent Frenzy, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke was standing on the field watching practice. Any visions 49ers fans might have had of Baalke huddled in his office simultaneously working two land lines, a Blackberry and an iPhone to get help for the 49ers were incorrect. Baalke watched the entire practice, chatted with Harbaugh for a while after it was over and strolled off the field.RELATED: 49ers camp report: Harbaugh runs the show
Despite the apparent inactivity while the rest of the league is consumed with musical players, Harbaugh insists there is a plan.I do, Ive been involved in it and Trent Baalke and I are talking every day, on it and executing that plan and I think smartly, he said. I feel good about it and time and results will judge if we were correct in our thinking.He added, when asked if patience was part of his plan, that three quarters of the teams in the National Football League are taking that approach right now. It doesnt feel like that, with bidding wars breaking out all over. The Eagles and Patriots got a lot better. Other NFC teams the Falcons, the Bears, the Saints all have made moves. More relevant to the 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals just improved with the acquisition of Kolb. The 49ers arent just standing pat; they seem to be leaking players. And if you were to rank the teams in the weak NFC West right now, youd probably put the 49ers at the bottom.Before the lockout the storyline that was penciled in for July 29, the opening day of training camp, was the exciting debut of Harbaugh. The actual story on Friday was quite a bit drearier.

49ers' Kaepernick shoulders blame: 'I have to be better'

49ers' Kaepernick shoulders blame: 'I have to be better'

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s second start of the season played out in similar fashion to his first appearance of the season a week ago in Buffalo.

Again, Kaepernick had more success running, and the 49ers’ last-ranked pass offense came in under its season average.

“I have to be better,” Kaepernick said following the 49ers’ 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before a sparse and largely disinterested gathering at Levi's Stadium.

Kaepernick completed fewer than 50 percent of his attempts for a second week in a row. He hit on 16 of 34 attempts for 143 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“That’s not going to win in the NFL,” Kaepernick said. “We have to be able to do better on that and ultimately, we have to string this together as a team and play well as a team for 60 minutes to get wins.”

[MAIOCCO: Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss]

Kaepernick made his second start after replacing Blaine Gabbert, who started the 49ers’ first five games of the season. The club has now lost six consecutive games, the franchise’s longest losing streak since 2008.

Kaepernick rushed for a team-high 84 yards on nine attempts, but the 49ers’ offense sputtered after a strong start. The 49ers scored touchdowns on two of their first four possessions, before closing shop for the day.

“I think it was up and down,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said of Kaepernick’s performance. “I wish there was one thing that you could just put your finger on and say, ‘Hey, it’s this.’ He obviously kept some things alive and kept some drives alive with his legs.

“They were playing a little bit more man coverage than we thought. Coming into the game they hadn’t played that much man, but they started off playing a lot of man. So, obviously, he can beat them (scrambling) when they are playing man coverage and everybody is locked up and now there is nobody responsible for the quarterback.”

The 49ers opened the game with a five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Later in the first quarter, the 49ers cashed in quickly after Gerald Hodges’ interception. Kaepernick found running back Shaun Draughn in the front left corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

“It comes down to execution, not shooting ourselves in the foot and making plays,” Kaepernick said. “On our two touchdown drives, we had players making plays on the field and we have to be able to continually do that throughout the game because defenses are talented. Things are going to be close and we have to be able to make those plays and that’s ultimately what’s going to be the difference in these games.”

Now, the 49ers head into the bye week with a 1-6 record. The 49ers face the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 6.

“It’s not a position we want to be in,” Kaepernick said. “We work hard every week, we go through our preparation, we’re on top of everything but we have to go out and execute better. Where our record is right now, we have a bye week coming up. We can get some corrections, get some people healthy, come back and try to make a home stretch run.”

Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss

Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss

SANTA CLARA – The search for answers will continue during the 49ers’ bye week. But coach Chip Kelly said he has already concluded he will make no changes to the defensive staff.

The 49ers surrendered 513 yards of total offense to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadiium. The Buccaneers, who entered the game with the league's 27th-ranked run game, rushed for 249 yards in their 34-17 victory over the 49ers.

Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil has come under fire, but Kelly told reporters he is not looking to make any changes to his staff. Kelly said he already spends ample time with O’Neil on a weekly basis.

"We spend time together during the week," Kelly said. "We carve out time in terms of how we watch film and what we do and understand the plan as we’re moving forward. There’s good communication going on form that standpoint. It’s not like I don’t know what’s going on on the defensive side of the ball.”

Defensive players in the 49ers’ locker room expressed confidence in O’Neil’s scheme.

“I love this scheme,” safety Eric Reid said. “If everybody does their job, we shouldn’t get beat. But whenever there’s an explosive play, somebody is out of position. We just got to tighten up.”

Said defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, “We have a great scheme and we have the guys to fit the scheme that he’s trying to run for us. Everybody individually, including myself, just needs to do better.”

Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who left the game in the third quarter with a high-ankle sprain, expressed a view of the team’s defensive players that was more than a bit optimistic.

“We have the team,” Lynch said. “We possibly have one of the best teams in the NFL, easily. Hands down. We need to know how to keep finishing games and work together throughout the whole game. Once we get that down, nobody’s going to be able to mess with us.”

The 49ers rank last in the NFL in rushing defense. The 49ers gave up 561 yards rushing in the past two games, the worst back-to-back weeks in franchise history.

Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers was the latest player to feast on the 49ers' defense. Rodgers rushed for a career-high 154 yards on 26 carries to become the sixth consecutive opponent to gain more than 100 yards on the 49ers.

“Of course, I am frustrated with it,” 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. “You play this game to win. When we give up points the way that we do, the way we give up yards, it is just unacceptable. It is frustrating.

“Anything is fixable. I just think that the guys that get double-teamed maybe have to do a better job at taking on the double-team. I know that is difficult, but that is what we signed up for. The guys that are getting doubled have to be able to get off those double-teams and just try to do a better job.”