There isn’t much to like about the San Francisco 49ers’ run defense this season.
The Niners have surrendered more total yards on the ground and per game than any other team in the league.
And it’s gotten even worse since NaVorro Bowman — the team’s defensive leader — went out with a season-ending achilles injury against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. In the two weeks since, the 49ers allowed 172 yards to the Arizona Cardinals, including 157 and two touchdowns to David Johnson, and a whopping 313 yards to the Buffalo Bills as LeSean McCoy slashed for three easy scores.
That’s all bad news for the Faithful, but it appears those problems won’t be going away any time soon if you believe Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who said Wednesday on KNBR the team has “one of the worst locker rooms in football” after losing Bowman.
“When Navarro got hurt, there’s really nobody in the locker room that is a catalyst; that can say something and everyone else goes, ‘oh yeah,’” the Niners legend said. “There’s no one coming out of the locker room warming up that you say ‘okay that’s the guy we’re going to follow’. That’s the guy who’s going to lead us out of this mess. That’s a group of guys that all of the sudden probably has one of the worst locker rooms in football. That’s when it gets really hard.”
There was a notable air of disappointment and dread in the locker room after Bowman went down.
“It stinks,” tackle Joe Staley said. “It’s really, really bad. NaVorro is a captain for us, one of our team leaders. … That’s a huge role to fill. You can’t really replace a guy like NaVorro.”
Apparently that stink has lingered and isn’t going anywhere, which is a problem for the 49ers and their fans, but has to be exciting for Jacquizz Rodgers — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers de facto starting running back — ahead of the teams’ game this Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.