As everyone now knows, the 49ers are a much different team without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
But Garoppolo didn’t play defense, and when he returns in 2019, San Francisco will need to have made some changes on that side of the ball or it won’t make any difference how many points Garoppolo can put up with Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme.
At this point, the 49ers defense looks utterly defenseless.
After giving up 43 points in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, the Niners have given up 336 points, an average of 30.5 per game, while also allowing 348.8 yards per game.
San Francisco also has been horrible at creating turnovers. Coordinator Robert Saleh’s unit has taken the ball away from opponents just five times, with two interceptions and three fumble recoveries, the worst total in the NFL. By contrast, the Bears lead the league with 30 takeaways.
While defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is a rising star with two more sacks Sunday to raise his total to nine — a career high — and young linebacker Fred Warner shows promise, the 49ers lack star power and playmakers at most every position.
Seattle averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Against the run, San Francisco is horrible.
As Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group noted after Sunday’s loss, which drops the 49ers to 2-10, Saleh’s defense isn’t making progress.
“The 49ers defense has not developed well nor shown enough tenacity all season,” he wrote.
The pass rush is absent. The pass coverage is weak. The linebacking play is inconsistent.
A lot must change between the end of this season and Game 1 of the 2019 schedule.
San Francisco will try to rebound this coming Sunday at Levi’s Stadium when it hosts the Denver Broncos. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m.