Coach Jim Tomsula said in his weekly radio appearance Tuesday that he held a “pointed” and “heated” team meeting following the 49ers’ 17-3 loss to the Packers, then turned the floor over to the players.
“The biggest thing I said to them was, ‘Guys, it’s like an Italian dining room table,’ ” Tomsula, who has Italian and Hungarian roots, said on KNBR. “’Everybody’s sitting around the table and sometimes it gets heated, dishes get broken, people leave. (But) everybody’s got to come back to the table to eat. And when it’s all said and done, we’re hugging and kissing and we’re eating good food again.’”
On the Tuesday after the loss to the Packers, Tomsula called a meeting in which he spoke and some of the coaches shared their thoughts. After that, the coaches left the room and the players took over. CSN Bay Area reported Monday the atmosphere became animated during that portion of the meeting, with one player calling out quarterback Colin Kaepernick and another coming to his defense.
“That does happen in this business,” Tomsula said of such meetings. “When you become 2-5, that starts to become headlines. But it was a very productive meeting. It was a meeting where it was truthful and dealt with facts and reality.”
There have been two national reports in the last 1 1/2 weeks that painted a picture of Kaepernick being isolated in the team’s locker room. He is in the midst of the roughest season of his career, and he was at his lowest point following the Green Bay game, in which he had a 55.4 passer rating.
Tomsula, however, disputed his quarterback was “on an island,” as Fox Sports reported over the weekend. “There’s not a lot of people he connects with,” the network’s Jay Glazer said.
Tomsula said he looked out his window Monday while Kaepernick and others were working out. “There were a couple of o-linemen with him there, and they’re all out running around and lifting and sprinting and racing each other,” Tomsula said. “Very good to see.”
The week after the Packers game, the 49ers’ offense was vastly improved in a three-point road loss to the Giants. Kaepernick threw for two touchdowns and had a 107.1 passer rating.
After the game, the players struck a decidedly hopeful and confident tone, which seemed odd since they had just lost their fourth consecutive game and the defense had allowed 525 yards.
The clear-the-air meeting that preceded the game – as well as Kaepernick’s performance – likely contributed to the positive atmosphere. After the Giants game, wide receiver Anquan Boldin said he told Kaepernick before the game that he didn’t want him to put pressure on himself.
“I told him, ‘Just put it on us,’ ” Boldin said. “ ‘Let us make a play for you. Take the pressure off yourself. Go out and have fun. Let it rip.’ And he did a great job of doing that tonight.”
A week after the loss to the Giants, the 49ers beat the Ravens. But four days later, they suffered another blowout loss and Kaepernick had another poor outing, with the 49ers offense converting only one third down.
Still, veteran running back Reggie Bush on Tuesday reported a positive atmosphere – including toward the quarterback – as the team returned to practice.
“I see him interact all the time,” Bush said. “I see him always talking to guys. On the football field, he’s always talking to guys and working with guys, and talking and communicating. As far as I’ve seen, he’s doing a great job.
“It’s easy to dig up stories and say things when your team is not playing well. I think the most important thing we can do is focus on us. Block out everything outside and try to go win this next football game.”