Steve Young Gives Jerry Rice's Take, Offers His Own on 49ers' Issues

Young gives Rice's take, offers his own on what ails 49ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Steve Young and Jerry Rice know a thing or two about what it takes to win championships, and the 49ers legends have been disappointed, and rightfully so, by what they have seen from Kyle Shanahan's team in 2021.

Fresh off an embarrassing loss to an Arizona Cardinals team without Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and J.J. Watt, the 49ers now sit at 3-5 and don't look like anything resembling a playoff team. So, what's wrong with the 2021 Niners?

Young recently spoke to Rice to get the legendary wide receiver's take on the situation, and he relayed that Wednesday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks."

“I go, ‘What do you what do you think?,” Young said. “He goes, ‘There’s no dogs.’ And I got to interpret that. There’s no dogs on there. You watch the team go on, go off, everyone’s like, 'OK.'

"When I'm talking about a locker room, I’m talking about a leadership committee that happens naturally, it’s organic. And there are certain personalities that it’s made up of, ‘over my dead body' kind of guys, the guys that have the grit, that have the moral authority to turn, at any time as a group or individually, to the rest of the 50 guys and declare the truth or the moment or something that doesn't even necessarily have to be said. Some of the groups that I played with it was just a look like, 'Hey, yeah, now.' Where I get concerned is that the locker rooms of the previous Super Bowl teams were best in the league kind of locker rooms."

Young believes that locker-room leadership that led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance two years ago is no longer there.

“There’s nothing wrong individually,” Young said. “Great talent, great people, all that stuff, but as a group, as a collective, they’re missing that thing that pulls everyone. There's a sense of ominousness about that gut feeling of the team. Who is going to make the difference? Who is going to create to make it one plus one equals three, that brings out the most of everybody? ... When you get concerned with a team is when they have the moment and they don't respond. Here we are with the last stand because if we lose this week, we are 3-6 and it becomes very difficult to get righted. But how do get it righted with the individuality of the team rather than the collective?

"When they went to the Super Bowl, Tom, it was because of the locker room. You can say, ‘Oh it’s because of the great play calling, it was because of this great pass rush.’ Yes and yes, but mostly about the people.”

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The 49ers' season began with such promise but has quickly gone downhill and Shanahan appears to be out of answers.

San Francisco temporarily stabilized its ship with a Week 8 win over the Chicago Bears, but the loss to the Colt McCoy-led Cardinals has their season once again circling the drain.

Now, the 49ers will have to pull off the upset against the 7-2 Los Angeles Rams on Monday night in order to give themselves a flicker of hope for the postseason. Will anyone in the locker room take charge and make sure the mistakes that have plagued San Francisco this season -- missed tackles, drops, fumbles -- don't happen Monday night?

Young and Rice both haven't liked what they've seen from the 2021 49ers.

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