Coach Jim Tomsula said Wednesday the 49ers must pull out of their losing streak by harnessing their mounting frustration, not necessarily by reshuffling their lineup.
“Is there anything glaring coming up? No,” Tomsula said when asked about possible personnel changes, particularly along the offensive line. “We are working on fixes. We are working on coaching. We are working on teaching. We are working on doing – and doing those things the way we need to do them.”
Tomsula said there has been the usual self-analysis after back-to-back blowout defeats, including scrutinizing specific plays and alignments. But as far as lineup changes?
“I don’t think in those terms,” he said. “My first reaction when something’s not going right is not to throw somebody out and put somebody else in. That’s not the way I think. I don’t see it as people are disposable.”
The offensive line has been the team’s biggest weakness as far back as training camp. However, Tomsula lacks many options, even if he was inclined to make a move. None of the reserve linemen has played an NFL regular-season snap, and the 49ers’ 2014 center, Daniel Kilgore, remains on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Some key players, including wide receiver Anquan Boldin and linebacker NaVorro Bowman, were visibly upset during Sunday’s 47-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. At one point, cameras caught Boldin venting to Tomsula as he came off the field.
I don’t think in those terms. My first reaction when something’s not going right is not to throw somebody out and put somebody else in. That’s not the way I think. I don’t see it as people are disposable.
49ers coach Jim Tomsula
“You’ve got to put it in the right place and make it work for you instead of against you,” Tomsula said of the frustration.
Tomsula said he allowed his players to hang onto the defeat Monday and when they arrived Tuesday. But later Tuesday, he said, the team transitioned from stewing about its performance against the Cardinals to preparing for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
“That had all better be in the right place,” he said. “Or one game leads into two games, leads into three games, leads into four games. ... That’s what I feel happened (Tuesday) in a very good way. Coming in – not feeling great. Walking out of the building (was better).”
The most disgruntled player might have been quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who threw four interceptions and said afterward he “nullified” everything else his teammates were doing in Arizona.
“I think, you could see it in his face,” receiver Torrey Smith said. “After the game, he wasn’t happy with it. He’s one of the biggest competitors around. It’s frustrating; it’s frustrating for him. It was a tough loss. Obviously, he felt like it was all his fault. It’s up to us to keep his head up, have his back, now more than ever, and keep giving him that confidence that he’s our guy. Because he is.”
Reggie’s a playmaker. He can run routes like a receiver and turn a simple run into a huge one for us. So we’re looking forward to having him back, and I definitely think it’s going to take some pressure off (Colin Kaepernick).
49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith
By Wednesday, Kaepernick said he had moved past his worst NFL performance and onto the Packers, against whom he is 3-0 as a starter.
“I’m not too big on feelings,” he said. “Feelings aren’t going to help me win a game. I’m focused on doing what I can to help this team win.”
The 49ers could get a key reinforcement for Sunday’s game. Running back Reggie Bush, who missed nearly all of the first three games, went through a full practice Wednesday. It looked as if Bush was primed for a big role in the opener against the Minnesota Vikings. He had two carries and was targeted on a pass on the team’s first two drives before he injured his calf and limped to the sideline.
“Reggie’s a playmaker,” Smith said. “He can run routes like a receiver and turn a simple run into a huge one for us. So we’re looking forward to having him back, and I definitely think it’s going to take some pressure off Kap. If you feel like you can check the ball down or something, Reggie can go 40 or 50 yards downfield. That’s something that we can use.”
The 49ers’ Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was Tomsula’s first as head coach. Now he has his first losing streak, something his predecessor handled well.
During his first three seasons in San Francisco, Jim Harbaugh never had a losing streak longer than two games. Last year, the 49ers were on a four-game slide before beating the Cardinals in the finale.