The San Francisco 49ers spent their bye week “hitting the reset button,” which the Faithful wishes was a real thing after watching them through the first seven weeks of the season.
The team has myriad problems — a stagnant offense with a hurt stud running back and no clear leader at quarterback — but none are more pressing than its inability to stop the run.
The Niners rank dead-last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, surrendering 31.3 more than the Cleveland Browns — the 31st-best team.
Embattled defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said he took the bye week as an opportunity to recalibrate his approach to figure out where the unit can improve.
He didn’t have to look far after watching the tape.
“We’ve got to tackle better,” he said Tuesday. “We’ve got to do a better job getting off blocks. I think that those are the, if there’s two things that jumped out off the tape, those would probably be the two biggest things.”
The 49ers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Saints aren’t known for their ground attack — racking up 88.1 yards per game, which is good for 25th in the league. They have some uncertainty on that side of the ball, too, as starter Mark Ingram was benched on Sunday for losing a fumble early.
But they still have Drew Brees, and that doesn’t bode well for O’Neil’s guys.
“There’s not too many things that they haven’t seen as an offensive staff and personnel-wise with those guys,” O’Neil conceded. “But, you’ve got to out-execute them. He’s going to know where to go with the ball.”
If the early part of the season is any indication, that’s going to be a tough task this upcoming Sunday in Santa Clara.