49ers OC Evaluates Blaine Gabbert, Third-down Execution

Curtis Modkins fielded several questions about third-down execution in his Tuesday press conference.

When you start a Week 3 road game against the Seattle Seahawks 0-for-10 on the money down and finish the divisional matchup 4-for-15, the questions are going to come your way.

The San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator offered insight as to why his group struggled in the 38-17 loss.

"It's actually good to see you guys because it means we're starting a new week," Modkins said in his opening remarks. "This last game wasn't good enough in a lot of areas, including me."

The 49ers picked up 12 first downs and finished the game with 254 yards of offense. Blaine Gabbert was 14-of-25 passing with 119 yards and one interception. The quarterback's streak of 12 consecutive games with a touchdown pass was snapped. Modkins said Gabbert's decision-making was "fine" and that the coaching staff needs to assess its game plans on third down. Modkins also noted that San Francisco's offensive line did a good job in pass protection. The unit did not allow a sack in Seattle. They've allowed only two sacks in three games.

"We have to improve offensively," Modkins said. "If you talk in terms of the pass game on third downs, we have to give them a better plan. ... They have to execute and throw and catch."

Modkins agreed with Chip Kelly's assessment that Seattle's defensive scheme forces teams to throw short of the first-down marker in an effort to rally to the football and smother the opponent.

"Not every third down is converted with a ball is thrown past the sticks," Modkins said of San Francisco's play-calling on third down. "There's a lot of different ways you can get third downs throwing the ball."

When asked if he has the right personnel to play winning football, San Francisco's first-year coordinator didn't hesitate to answer.

"Yes, absolutely," Modkins said. "Without a doubt."

Pierre Garçon rushed nine times for 67 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns when San Francisco trailed by 34 points in the fourth quarter. The third-year running back picked up a career-long 34-yard rush and finished the game with 103 yards on the ground. Modkins didn't agree with the notion that Seattle backed off defensively.

"I definitely don't think they took their foot off the gas," he said. "I think that's the nature of the NFL, it happens that way some times. ... It's not easy to run the football in this league. I think our guys are on the right track with that."

Other updates from Modkins were as follows:

-- Garrett Celek (hip) is still being evaluated by the team's medical staff. His playing availability for a Week 4 home game against the Dallas Cowboys is up in the air.

-- Recently acquired wide receiver Rod Streater (two catches, 32 yards this season) is close to having the full playbook down. "It's hard to get all of it in that (short) amount of time," Modkins said. -- Rookie tackle John Theus is an option to be the team's swing tackle now that Anthony Davis has retired from the NFL. Modkins also expressed confidence in Zane Beadles handling the role, which he's done for the first three weeks of the season.

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