October 26, 2021

Joe Staley explains 49ers’ offensive inconsistencies, lack of identity

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Joe Staley explains 49ers' offensive inconsistencies, lack of identity
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Staley explains 49ers’ lack of identity on offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers’ offense has been … well, for lack of a better word, inconsistent this season. 

Question marks at the quarterback position, multiple injured running backs, the shocking absence of a wide receiver expected to have a breakout season, and an IR designation to the All-Pro tight end have made the offense unrecognizable at times.

So yeah, it makes sense why things haven’t gone smoothly on that side of the ball. 

Former left tackle and current 49ers analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area Joe Staley discussed San Francisco’s lack of identity on offense, and what has changed since the unit’s success in 2019.

“What’s been shocking to me is that one of the things, too, has been that stretch zone, but all the play-action roll-outs, that was one of our identities, the keep game,” Staley this week on KNBR 680’s Papa & Lund. “And it hasn’t been there at all. And it’s almost like they’re trying to find and involve that new identity.

“When we, in 2019, had that great offensive year, obviously it was predicated on our run game and everything that came off of that, but it was also the play design and getting out of the pocket, and stretching and how the plays built on each other.”

Staley believes the 49ers are having an identity crisis, and the case can certainly be made. The inconsistencies have not allowed the 49ers’ offense to stack one successful play on top of another, and carry momentum through an entire drive as they did in 2019. 

“Right now we’re not finding that consistency in either the run or the pass game,” Staley added. “So it looks a little bit disjointed right now, and it’s like individual plays are not really building upon each other. I think through the first five weeks of the season, this team, especially the offense, is really still searching for an identity of what they can always lean on, and what are our core plays, that we are going to be very good, that we can call in any situation?”

RELATED: 49ers overreactions: What to make of Lance’s designed runs

The 49ers’ minus-five turnover differential is the third-worst in the NFL, ahead of only the Kansas City Chiefs (minus-seven) and Jacksonville Jaguars (minus-10). Inconsistencies on offense, paired with more turnovers than takeaways on defense are a recipe for disaster. 

Their Week 6 Bye could not have come at a better time. With both quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance battling injuries, the team still doesn’t know who will start under center in Week 7 against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Given the team hasn’t quite found an identity yet, they likely will likely do some soul-searching during the week off. 

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