The 49ers’ plan for 2015 seemed genius after their Week 1 victory over Minnesota: The defense throttled the Vikings, the rushing attack took over and the quarterback was firmly at the controls – not having to do anything dramatic and not making mistakes, either.
Then the plan fell apart.
Entering the second quarter of the season, the 49ers have question marks in nearly every component of the game. What’s worse, no one seems confident of having the answers.
The 49ers hoped progress by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is in his third season as a starter, would compensate for some of the departures that shook the team in the offseason. Instead, Kaepernick has had trouble completing a pass beyond five yards and the coaches, much less the locker room, likely can’t tolerate much more shakiness before they turn to backup Blaine Gabbert.
The first four games featured tough opponents and taxing trips, and the next four don’t get much easier with a long trip to play the New York Giants, followed by games against the Baltimore Ravens and two division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams.
Jim Tomsula already has received plenty of unflattering comparisons to Mike Singletary, the former 49ers coach who rose to that position without being an NFL coordinator. Singletary was fired because he had no X’s-and-O’s answers for what ailed his team, nor did he hire smart lieutenants to help him navigate out of trouble.
Tomsula is in the midst of a three-game tailspin. Can he pull out of the dive?