General manager Trent Baalke said Sunday the 49ers’ woes are not because of miserly owners, something that’s been cited by fans and critics during the team’s 1-8 start.
“The bottom line is the ownership gives us everything we need to be successful,” Baalke said two hours before kickoff. “There’s nothing financial holding us back from being successful.”
One of the things fans, reporters and observers zeroed in on this year was the team’s tepid foray into free agency. The only starter added was left guard Zane Beadles, and the 49ers still have more than $40 million in salary cap space. Only the winless Cleveland Browns have more.
But Baalke said there was no directive from CEO Jed York or his parents to avoid spending in free agency.
“They’re extremely supportive, they let us make football decisions, they support us wholeheartedly, and they give us resources necessary to do it,” he said. “That’s what’s frustrating. If people want to put blame, find (blame), look right here. Because I’m given everything I need to be successful in the job that I’m doing. Period.”
Of course, Baalke attracts his share of fan anger, too. There were “Fire Baalke” signs at the 49ers’ last home game, and there are plans to fly a similarly themed banner over Levi’s Stadium next week.
Both he and coach Chip Kelly have said recently that their relationship remains strong.
“I think we see the game similar in terms of how you’re supposed to be stout up the middle, what we’re looking for in players,” Kelly said last week. “So we don’t differ on what we value in a football player.”
Anthem watch – At one point this season, eight 49ers protested during the national anthem. On Sunday, that number was down to three – Colin Kaepernick, Eli Harold and Eric Reid, all of whom knelt during the ceremony. None of the 49ers raised a fist; as many as five did so during early-season games.
As he has several times this year, Kaepernick honored Malcolm X with his postgame attire, a T-shirt with a quote from the late controversial human rights activist: “If you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything.”
Kaepernick’s protest is meant to highlight racial injustices in the country, especial issues involving police brutality. He did not vote in the recent election because he said it would have been “hypocritical.”
“I’ve said from the beginning I’m against oppression, I’m against the system of oppression,” he said. “I’m not going to show support for that system. And, to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of our oppression.”
Et cetera – Glenn Dorsey made his first start of the season, at nose tackle. He played a season-high number of snaps last week against the Saints and appears to be approaching full strength after last year’s ACL tear.
▪ Shayne Skov entered the game at inside linebacker in the third quarter when he played next to Michael Wilhoite. The former Stanford standout hadn’t played any defensive snaps before Sunday.
▪ Wide receivers Rod Streater and Chris Harper each had a significant number of snaps. Kelly said the goal was to have a steady rotation at the position and to put pressure on the Cardinals, who were short on defensive backs entering the game.