The San Francisco 49ers enter Sunday’s matchup with the New York Jets on an 11-game losing streak and currently have the second-worst record in the NFL behind the winless Cleveland Browns. After winning their opening game of the season 28-0 against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football, the 49ers haven’t won another game since en route to a 1-11 record.
First-year head coach Chip Kelly began the season with Blaine Gabbert as his starting quarterback, but the offense stalled after the first five games of the season which led Kelly to name Colin Kaepernick as the team’s starting quarterback entering Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. While San Francisco has yet to win a game since Kaepernick was named the starter, the offense has looked much improved for the most part.
— NFL (@NFL) December 7, 2016
In seven starts, Kaepernick has thrown for 1,444 yards and 10 touchdowns as opposed to only three interceptions. The dual-threat quarterback has also added 393 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. Aside from a horrific showing last week against the Chicago Bears in the snow where he only completed 1-of-5 passes and got benched, Kaepernick has really energized the offense.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t made a difference for the San Francisco 49ers because the defense has been the worst in the NFL for most of the season. The 49ers are giving up a whopping 416.3 yards, 169.3 rushing yards, and 30.8 points per game, all of which rank dead last in the league.
The team’s poor play and lack of a talented roster leaves general manager Trent Baalke’s job hanging in the balance heading into the offseason. In fact, CBS Sports is reporting this morning that it would be a “surprise” if Baalke is retained this offseason and that if the general manager were to leave, Kelly’s job security would be up to the new general manager.
— 49ers Webzone (@49erswebzone) November 30, 2016
One name that CBS Sports mentions as a potential replacement is former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins head coach, Mike Shanahan. The outlet states that Shanahan could be a candidate for either an executive position or coaching position.
Shanahan hasn’t been in the NFL since 2013 when he was fired by the Redskins after posting a 3-13 season despite just being one season removed from leading Washington to a 10-6 record and the NL East Division title in 2012.
— 49ers Webzone (@49erswebzone) December 11, 2016
Several NFL owners believe that 49ers CEO Jed York’s parents will will begin to take more control of the franchise this offseason and that could spell bad news for Baalke and Kelly. The Yorks have spoken to Shanahan in the past about openings, and he would seem to be one of the first contacts if Denise and John decide to take more control from Jed.
In any event, these next four games are huge for both Baalke and Kelly. It’s unclear either coach can still save his job or if the changes are already in motion, but showing a vast improvement on the field would seem to be the only way to have any chance of remaining.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 11, 2016
After Sunday’s game against the Jets, the 49ers will have back-to-back road games against the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams before a home tilt with the Seattle Seahawks. The game against New York is the most winnable, but the 49ers should be able to compete with the Rams as well. Possibly, going 2-2 over the final four games could save one of Trent Baalke or Chip Kelly’s jobs.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]