San Francisco 49ers

Harbaugh ‘unwavering’ in support of Greg Roman, deflects questions about own future

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh late in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins during a game at Levi's Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Santa Clara, Calif.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh late in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins during a game at Levi's Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Santa Clara, Calif. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

SANTA CLARA -- Jim Harbaugh didn't attack offensive coordinator Greg Roman or owner Jed York in the aftermath of last week's loss to the Seahawks that has shaken the 49ers franchise like no other defeat since he arrived in 2011.

What he did say on Monday – over and over – was that the 49ers would “attack the week” as they get ready to play the one-win Raiders.

Harbaugh used that as his default answer for all sorts of questions -- about how the 49ers failed so miserably against Seattle on Thursday, about his relationship with York and about Harbaugh’s shaky tenure with the team.

Asked, for example, if he wants to be back with the 49ers next season, he said: “I want to attack this week and get it right.”

Harbaugh has one year remaining on his five-year, $25 million contract. There has been widespread speculation that he and the 49ers will part ways at season’s end. That notion gained more momentum when, in the waning moments of the 19-3 loss to the Seahawks, York tweeted an apology to fans and wrote that the performance was unacceptable.

Harbaugh on Monday refused to talk about York. But he did use some of the same words York had in his tweet.

“It’s our job to move on without excuse, without apology and get it right, make it right,” Harbaugh said. “That’s our intention.”

He also said he wasn't worried about what will happen when the season ends.

“I don’t participate in any of that speculation,” he said. “I think I have a recessive gene in worrying about my own future.”

Players said they appreciated the way Harbaugh deflected potential distractions and focused on the upcoming opponent.

“He has to be unfazed,” fullback Bruce Miller said of Harbaugh. “We've still got four games left to play. He has to coach our football team. So if he's fazed by it, what are we going to do? He can't be fazed by it.”

Said tight end Vance McDonald on distractions: “For us, it's non-existent. They can blow it up as much as they want to. But at the end of the day, we know what's happening in our locker room and on our coaching staff. It's kind of funny for us, actually.”

As far as the team's struggling offense, Harbaugh said he has “unwavering support” of Roman as well as all of his assistant coaches and players and that Roman will continue to call the 49ers’ plays.

He offered no hints about how the 49ers will try to fix an offense that ranks 25th in passing and 25th in scoring this season and is the league's least productive team when it enters the red zone.

“We just have to do better,” Harbaugh said. “We have to do a better job, and that’s what we understand.”

Instead, players were left to address the team's deficiencies.

Miller, for example, said the 49ers tried to do some different things on offense this season because they felt the system they ran the previous three seasons had become too predictable, too easy to defend.

“That's what we tried to get away from – doing the same things,” he said. “Because we found ourselves struggling and stalling.”

The 49ers have made some significant adjustments, including using more three- and four-wide receiver formations. Miller said those tweaks, in conjunction to new faces at key positions this season, start to explain why the 49ers have not been consistently smooth.

“I definitely think being more consistent at those things week in and week out no matter what the look is, no matter what the play is,” he said. “I definitely think there's been some breakdowns.”

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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