With a Bye in Week 6, a time for rebuilding and self reflection couldn't have come at a better time for San Francisco, as a few key injuries and missed opportunities limited the 49ers to three-straight losses early in the season.
Fifth-year general manager John Lynch is "as confident as ever" that the team can turn things around from their dismal start, and described the Bye week on NBCS 49ers Talk as "an opportune time to try to identify who we are as a team, what we are as a team and start playing to that."
So far, each game lost has been by a single score or less. The moments of self-inflicted damage and missed opportunities have held the 49ers back from adding more victories to their record. With a team full of weapons, San Francisco has the resources needed to win games. Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa are just two names who have had a hot start in the 2021 season, climbing the stat charts for the franchise and around the league. However, in a results-oriented business, now is the time for San Francisco to translate their efforts on the field into points on the board.
"When you look at the pros and cons and where we're sitting today, our list of wrongs is not that long. I know a lot of teams have a lot of things going on right now, but us, it's nothing we can't handle," veteran offensive tackle Trent Williams said. "As an offense, we've got to find a way to sustain drives, especially on third and fourth down, and when we get on our opponents' territory, we've got to make it count."
Third down conversions are an area of improvement for the 49ers, as the team currently ranks 25th (35.59 percent) in the league through five games. The strength to execute on these crunch-time plays may reside in players who are looking to make their comeback to the field.
In Monday's practice, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was back in action, and his leadership is crucial to the team as it focuses on clearly pinpointing their performance identity. Running back JaMycal Hasty was also spotted as a candidate to be elevated to the active roster after spending three game weeks on Injured Reserve. Hasty's return could be beneficial to San Francisco's 12th-ranked rushing offense, which is the backbone of the 49ers scheme.
On the other side of the ball, K'Waun Williams, “the best nickel in the league” as described by Jimmie Ward, also made a return. Williams has proven to be an asset to San Francisco's secondary and could be an added reinforcement for the defense in his return from a calf injury.
Turning around the season begins this week, as the 49ers host Sunday Night Football at Levi's® Stadium against the Indianapolis Colts, one that many inside and out of the organization see as a "must-win" matchup to get their 2021 campaign back on track.
"I know from plenty of experience that these are long seasons, but it has to start now," Lynch said. "We need to find out who we are and we come back with the Colts. From that point, our focus needs to be on just that right there – beating the Colts."