It's been a tough season for the San Francisco 49ers on the defensive side of the ball. Ezekiel Elliott dominating in Week 3 was just a sign of things to come. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

It's been a tough season for the San Francisco 49ers on the defensive side of the ball. Ezekiel Elliott dominating in Week 3 was just a sign of things to come. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

49ers express faith in embattled defensive coordinator

SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers have made a habit of being dominated by opposing offenses.

They have the league’s worst run defense and surrendered another 248 yards on Sunday to the New Orleans Saints, a team that isn’t traditionally known for its ground attack.

They’ve failed in almost every defensive metric conceivable and have been heading in the wrong direction each week since the season opener when they stymied the Los Angeles Rams.

Many fans have wondered aloud if the continually disappointing performances will cost defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil his job.

According to head coach Chip Kelly, that’s not going to happen in the near future.

“I think it’s everybody’s fault on the defensive side,” Kelly said. “I think we’ve got to do a better job at putting our players in a position to make plays. That’s all of us, that’s me. That starts with the head coach, I don’t blame one single person for that.”

Inside linebacker Eli Harold made no attempts to hide his frustration after the Niners’ 41-23 loss.

“It’s unexplainable,” he said. “It sucks, dude.”

When asked if other offensive coordinators have figured out the 49ers’ schemes, Harold did little to dismiss that notion.

“I know that [opposing OCs] say we’re going to say we’re going to start running the ball until they stop us. They should, that’s their job,” Harold said. “I just feel like every team circles us on their calendar, and that’s something we’ve got to be better at, man. We can’t be the target. We can’t be the laughingstock. Each and every person has to do whatever they got to do to stop the bleeding.”

When asked if the 49ers are being out coached, veteran safety Antoine Bethea refused to take the bait and blame the staff.

“We have some great coaches and they put us in the right position,” he said. “As players, we’ve got to make plays. You can’t put this on the coaches. Not at all.”

The fact they’ve allowed a running back to reach 100 yards in each of their last seven games has not shaken Harold’s faith in O’Neil.

“Like I said since day 1, I love JO, I love his scheme. And I still feel that way. I truly and honestly believe it’s not the scheme.”

“No matter what he calls, we as men, we as pros in the National Football League should go out there and execute the call to the best of our ability,” he continued “… I’m never going to lose faith in him.”

That’s true of Harold, but likely not the rest of the Faithful. The Niners return to action on the road next Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, who have one of the league’s best running backs in David Johnson and will be coming off a bye week.Chip KellyEli HaroldJim O’NeilSan Francisco 49ers

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (26) starts against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 11, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants finish sweep of Rockies behind DeSclafani’s scoreless outing

Even with fans back at Oracle Park, San Francisco Giants pitchers have… Continue reading

Kindergarten teacher Chris Johnson in his classroom at Bryant Elementary School ahead of the school’s reopening on Friday, April 9, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD students are going back to the classroom

After more than a year of distance learning, city schools begin reopening on Monday

Keith Zwölfer, director of education for SFFILM, stays busy connecting filmmakers and studios with public, private and home schools<ins>.</ins><ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner) </ins>
Streamlined SF film festival focuses on family features

In the early days of the San Francisco International Film Festival, the… Continue reading

“Gay Passover,” a fun Haggadah, includes some cocktail recipes. <ins>(Courtesy Saul Sugarman)</ins>
A Passover journey toward something different

It was nice to see my family, and I look forward to reconnecting with friends

Oakland A’s left fielder Tony Kemp fielded a fly but missed the catch in the April 5 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Oakland Coliseum. <ins>(Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Bay Area sports for week of April 11, 2021

A look at the upcoming major Bay Area sports events (schedules subject… Continue reading

Most Read