The 49ers are just over a quarter of the way through their 2018 season, yet now have little hope.
They’re 1-4 and have endured an onslaught of injuries. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and No. 1 running back Jerick McKinnon – their biggest offseason acquisition – are out for the season, the defense in struggling and they’ll go into Monday night’s game against the Packers without running back Matt Breida, an early-season bright spot. At this point, they’re far more likely to compete for the top pick in next year’s draft than a playoff spot.
Yet 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is a positive personality. He was hired for his ideas, his past success and his ability to communicate with players. Though the 49ers are down, he says they’re not out. They’re going to continue to work, learn and improve, even with the odds against them now.
“I totally understand the frustration,” Shanahan told reporters Monday, noting especially the losses of Garoppolo and McKinnon as “a tough blow.”
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t win games,” he added. “We have played two games now without Jimmy and we have been more than capable of winning both of those games, and we haven’t gotten it done. There are lots of answers to what we could have done better to win, and that’s really all you can focus on.”
The 49ers lost Sunday to the previously winless Cardinals, but it was a game that could have gone San Francisco’s way.
San Francisco outgained Arizona 447 yards to 220, had 23 more first downs and controlled the ball, running 92 plays vs. just 49 for the Cardinals.
But, it’s hard to win when you commit five turnovers to your opponent’s zero.
So, Shanahan believes despite all the problems and injuries, the 49ers can raise their level of play over the final 11 games.
“I know we have been through some adversity,” Shanahan said. “I know this is the hand we have been dealt, and I think we have the people in our organization, I think we have the players who can man up and find a way to win. It’s never easy. It definitely gets harder when you have injuries, but we have people in here that can win games.”
The 49ers will take on the Packers Monday night in Green Bay. Kickoff is set for 5:15 p.m.