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The 5 O'Clock Club: A look at this week’s opponent - 49ers edition

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere...

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

What does Vegas say?

The betting line on 49ers vs Redskins seems to be Redskins as heavy favorites at -10.

Prediction-scoring formulas run on this game picked a potential 34-9 result in favor of the Redskins.

The Redskins are almost always underdogs in point spreads, so this business of being 10 point favorites is almost unheard of for me. I gottta say... I don’t like it.

Everywhere I look, I see people (including most 49ers fans) predicting an easy Redskins victory. I hate being overlooked, but I don’t like the feeling that we may be overlooking the competition any better.

Hopefully the Redskins players aren’t reading or hearing any of these predictions. I haven’t forgotten Week 17 last year, when it looked like the Redskins thought that they only needed to show up at the stadium to get the win against the Giants. Instead, they got their collective asses handed to them and what looked like an easy entry into the playoffs turned into a short car ride home to a long off season.

I want to see the same team that showed up for to battle the Rams, Raiders & Chiefs this season, and not the one that showed up to for the Giants in Week 17 last year, or the Eagles in Week 1 this year.

Power Rankings

The winless 49ers are, predictably, ranked near the bottom of the league, but generally get a fair bit of grudging respect for the way they are playing. The Niners are probably the most capable of all the winless teams -- at least, since the Giants lost Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall for the season. The Niners are getting respect for playing better than an 0-5 team, similar to the way the Redskins are getting respect for being better than the 2-2 record would suggest. It’s probably a mistake for anyone to underestimate this San Fransisco team.

NFL.com (Elliott Harrison) #31

Kyle Shanahan can't buy a win. Much like Skeletor, who seemed to always best He-Man for 20 minutes of each episode, then found a way to lose because He-Man had the power, of course. Brian Hoyer isn't doing his head coach any favors. He looks incapable one minute, then he gets into a zone, then he misses receivers on throws late. Hoyer wasn't off by much in the OT loss to the Colts, throwing for 353 yards, yet he couldn't produce diddley squat for almost three quarters. At some point, he and the Niners will put a whole game together.

NBC Sports #31

The 49ers staged a fourth quarter rally in search of their first victory under Kyle Shanahan, but they squandered that by losing in an extra frame again, just as they did in Week 4. Brian Hoyer played more than competently, too, but he and his teammates have yet to close a contest out; their last four losses have come by a combined 11 points.

Bleacher Report #31

There are positives with the 49ers. They are capable of moving the ball on offense. There just aren't guys who can make the game-changing plays needed to get over the hump and win games.

The defense, while talented, will have days where it struggles. That was the case against the Colts. The unit was gashed on the ground by running back Marlon Mack, which isn't a good look for a defensive line filled with a number of first-round picks.

San Francisco's defense did give the team a chance to win in overtime with an interception, but Brian Hoyer and Co. couldn't capitalize.

In general, San Francisco struggles when it cannot run the ball. Hoyer and the passing game typically isn't strong enough to lift the offense and win games. This is especially true when the defense doesn't play well and the 49ers get into a shootout.

Yahoo Sports #31

Since looking bad in Week 1, the 49ers have four losses by 11 total points, with no loss by more than a field goal. The 49ers are the second team, joining the 1994 Oilers, to lose four straight games in the same season by three or fewer points (h/t to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press). Sure, it stinks to lose all those games. But in the big picture, this is a talent-poor team that’s battling hard and coming close. They had a nice comeback to force overtime on Sunday. It could be worse.

ESPN #29

The 49ers have virtually no shot at making the playoffs following a five-loss start. To their credit, four of their five losses have been by exactly three points, so at least they've been in most of their games.

The NFC West Division Standings

  • Seattle Seahawks 3-2 (2-0)
  • LA Rams 3-2 (1-1)
  • Arizona Cardinals 2-3 (1-0)
  • SF 49ers 0-5 (0-3)

The fact that 3 of the 5 losses suffered by the Niners have come inside the division has pretty much destroyed any chance they had/have of competing for a playoff spot.

At this point, the fan focus has shifted to developing the team for next year (Niners fans are talking a lot about backup QB CJ Beathard), and draft strategy. Decisions on use of players (specifically Navarro Bowman) indicates that Kyle Shanahan is also taking the long view of his roster.

What’s making the news on the Niners Nation website?

The death of Y.A. Tittle

“The San Francisco 49ers organization and our Faithful fans have lost a dear member of our family. Y.A. Tittle will forever hold a special place in not only 49ers history but that of the National Football League. His individual accomplishments speak for themselves, but as a member of the ‘Million Dollar Backfield’ he was part of one of the most storied offensive attacks the game of football has ever seen. During his 15 years as a player and a coach, Y.A. made many significant contributions to this organization and the Bay Area. Our best wishes are with his family and the many friends and fans he leaves behind.”

Injuries

The San Francisco 49ers have placed cornerback Asa Jackson on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, the team announced. This is the corresponding roster move to them signing free agent cornerback Leon Hall earlier on Tuesday.

Jackson was promoted to the active roster in mid-September and registered three tackles on special teams in four appearances this season.

In placing Jackson on the season-ending list, they also confirmed the Hall signing. Hall is a former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback and a 2007 first-round pick. He’s 32 years old and well past his prime, but should assist a struggling secondary for the 49ers, at least in the interim.

The 49ers saw three cornerbacks go down with injuries against the Indianapolis Colts, and they actually had to move Jimmie Ward from safety to cornerback briefly, a move that head coach Kyle Shanahan says he doesn’t want to have to make in the future.

Kyle Shanahan on the return of Reuben Foster:

I'm excited to hopefully get Reuben back for practice on Wednesday, but by no means do I think that means he's going to play on Sunday. So, we don't want to put all that on Reuben anyways right away to get him out there so much. We'll see how he looks, and then we'll evaluate week to week. ”

Carols Hyde & Navarro Bowman on the sidelines instead of in the game

It’s no surprise: Carlos Hyde and NaVorro Bowman are still the starters at running back and inside linebacker, respectively.

In [the Colts] game, Bowman found himself on the sidelines during a crucial time, replaced by Brock Coyle. Hyde was also replaced for long stretches of time by rookie backup Matt Breida.

“This is not about phasing anyone out,” Shanahan said of Bowman. “We think keeping him fresher will help our team.”

I don’t think Bowman is done or near the end of his career. He’s played well enough at other times to convince me he still has it, but keeping him in for every single snap is not the best way to help the team win.

Shanahan said that the plan going forward is to go with Hyde at the start of games and spell him with Breida. He added that he will go with the “hot hand” at the running back position. It makes sense, and Breida has looked good in limited action.

That said, I believe Hyde has been under-utilized this season. I don’t know how much of that is him being banged up, but I feel like Shanahan has abandoned the run way too early in games, and is having Brian Hoyer throw the ball far too often.

It’s like deja vu all over again

This is an excerpt from the transcript of a recent press conference with Kyle Shanahan:

In terms of play calling distribution, you're passing the ball at one of the highest rates in the league. Was that the plan coming in, or has that been a product of the way some of the games have gone or how teams are defending you? How do you look at passing the ball some 60, 65 percent of the time?

“It's definitely not something I want to do. I always try to be in a 50/50 situation. I think one thing that's glaring when you do struggle on third down, you're not going to be out there as much, and I'm not a guy who's just going to go run, run pass. I try to get in a flow. I try to call stuff that they're not defending. In order to do that to get that balance, you've got to be successful on third down to stay out there. Our opening drive, I don't know how many plays it was, I want to guess like eight plays, but we only had one third down on it, and it was the last third down, and it’s how can you keep getting and using your scheme and keeping the defense off balance if, if you don't stay on the field a lot you have a lot of three-and-outs, unless I'm going run, run, pass, and we're not having any two-minute drives, which you usually have one to two in a game, it's going to end up that way.”

Playing backup rookie quarterback CJ Beathard

Kyle Shanahan is sticking with quarterback Brian Hoyer despite his struggles. He was asked about C.J. Beathard, as he is every week, following the team’s overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

“C.J. is doing a good job in practice,” Shanahan said. “I think he's gotten better each week, and we'll continue to do that with him, and if we feel it's the best thing for the team, the best thing for C.J. and the players around him, that's when we'll do that.”

Hoyer completed 29 of 46 passes for 353 yards and a pair of touchdowns, which isn’t his worst game yet. But several drives were killed by errant passes, and he’s not particularly good at avoiding pressure.

The notes about Beathard doing well in practice are good to see. I still think it’s far too early to be thinking about Beathard playing this season. But it’s good to see that Shanahan isn’t completely shutting the option down.

I expect the 49ers will find another quarterback next season, but it certainly isn’t Hoyer, so seeing Beathard for at least a couple games would be good. Just not yet, I think. And Shanahan seems to feel the same way, too.

Kirk Cousins

The San Francisco 49ers’ decision to hire Kyle Shanahan as their head coach during this rebuilding process has opened the door for Kirk Cousins to potentially land in Santa Clara. Shanahan and Cousins worked together in Washington, and the 49ers new head coach has regularly praised his former quarterback.

Cousins played the 2016 season under the franchise tag, and is scheduled to play the 2017 season under the tag. After that, the situation is mystery. He could sign a contract extension by July 17, or potentially during the 2018 offseason. But his future remains up in the air. We’ll be following the story as it progresses through 2017 and potentially into 2018.

2018 Draft position

The San Francisco 49ers dropped to 0-5 this past week, and their chances at one of the top draft picks continue to solidify. The 49ers are tied with the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants, and a tough upcoming slate of games means they could head into their bye week at or close to winless.

Now that we are five weeks in, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert is back with his draft order projection. ESPN uses their Football Power Index to project records and subsequent draft order. The top five projection currently shakes out as follows:

1. Cleveland Browns

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. Chicago Bears

4. Indianapolis Colts

5. New York Giants

What does the comments section of Niners Nation say?

Good chance at #1 pick

We may only win 1 game if that looking at that schedule. Depends on how the team evolves during the rest of the season, a first taste of victory could change things.

Posted by Steve Montana on Oct 11, 2017 | 3:35 AM

this

This year, and possibly next were pretty much always likely to be a struggle. This team was pretty much blown up with few survivors

Posted by baykid415 on Oct 11, 2017 | 3:42 AM

this

The fact that the Browns can seemingly get the 1st pick year in and year out is proof they should be disbanded.

49ers in a nutshell: Our QB play isn't good. When it is good the WR's aren't good. When everyone is good there is a penalty.

Posted by jon Q on Oct 11, 2017 | 3:39 AM

this

IMO the only two winnable games on that schedule the way things are now...

Giants because our corners don’t have to defend against receivers when they don’t have receivers and the Bears. .

Posted by sfsuphysics on Oct 11, 2017 | 3:51 AM

this

1. Cleveland Browns

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. Chicago Bears

Is it 2017 already ? Oh Wait !

Posted by Jed08 on Oct 11, 2017 | 3:53 AM

this

I'm buying into this projection ...

Our best remaining opportunities for wins are: at Bears and Giants at Levi … projected final record: 2-14

There's hope once again ... we've actually got some competent people in the FO!

Posted by 49erFanSince1950 on Oct 11, 2017 | 10:24 AM

this

I'll say...

We should be 4-1 instead of 0-5, so I’ll say this team is much better than people give it credit for. Because of that we go on a 9-2 run and end up at 9-7 for the season.

Sorry guys and gals, no top 5 pick this year.

Posted by kaepernicking on Oct 11, 2017 | 4:03 AM

this

id love to trade down from 1 or 2 to 3/4

and grab Barkley to go with Cousins

Posted by GreatOden'sRaven on Oct 11, 2017 | 11:03 AM

this

Week 7

Blow that tank up on week 7 because I don’t care if we go 1-15, I want that win versus Dallas, damnit! I’ve never despise any team or owner more than the f#&(ing Cowboys and Jerry Jones.

Posted by JAāCH on Oct 11, 2017 | 8:25 AM

this

top two is absolutely a need

we lost Garrett last year due to a meaningless win in the last game. I want them to act professionally this time. even if we sign Cousins, we need the boatload of picks a trade can bring.

Posted by glib1 on Oct 11, 2017 | 8:37 AM

Is 0-5 a hopeless position for the playoffs?

The question no one wants to ask must, indeed, be asked. Can this team -- a team that started 0-5 -- make the playoffs? Probably not. No team has ever opened the season with five losses and made it to January. Heck, only one team went 0-4 and made it. It'd take a special team and a unique set of circumstances to get it done. Probably more special than the Greatest Show on Turf, and more unique than the befuddling NFC. So again, probably not.

Draft position vs. Pride

The 49ers really have no rational reason to fight to win games right now.

Every loss helps maintain their position at the top of the draft, which is where the future is.

That said, pride is a powerful motivator, and professional athletes are not known for rolling over and showing their soft underbellies for the sake of next year’s draft.

I have a little advice for the 49ers players from my friend Marcellus Wallace — he has some thoughts on how “pride” impacts this situation:

“The night of the [game], you may feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.”

For those who were wondering, here is the list of teams that Ty Nsekhe was with before he first signed with the Redskins in 2015.

  • Corpus Christi Sharks (2009)
  • Dallas Vigilantes (2010)
  • Philadelphia Soul (2011)
  • San Antonio Talons (2012)
  • Indianapolis Colts (2012)*
  • St. Louis Rams (2012)
  • New Orleans Saints (2014)
  • Montreal Alouettes (2014)*
  • Washington Redskins (2015)*
  • Los Angeles Kiss (2015)*
  • Washington Redskins (2015–present)

Poll

How many NFC West teams will finish the season with winning records? (Currently Sea 3-2, LAR 3-2, Ari 2-3, SF 0-5)

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    All 4 of them
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    3
    (5 votes)
  • 63%
    2
    (106 votes)
  • 29%
    1
    (50 votes)
  • 2%
    nada... none at all
    (5 votes)
168 votes total Vote Now