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.
“There’s good communication there from 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.