This is part two of my exclusive interview with Jeff Garcia. Part one ran Friday, Dec. 23.
“What do you make of the 49ers right now?” I ask the former Niners quarterback. “Why has their season been such a disaster?”
“Well, the key to success,” Garcia says, “is obviously consistency, and you need to have that in all facets of the game — offense, defense and special teams — in order to have a chance to compete on a weekly basis and have a chance to win football games. The margin for error in the NFL is so minimal. Games are won by three points or less.
“As far as the 49ers are concerned, it has been a very disappointing, very discouraging season. Getting a new regime, a new head coach — Chip Kelly — you’re thinking there’s going to be some excitement, some explosiveness from an offensive standpoint. But, it really hasn’t translated.
“A lot of that has to do with the type of players he’s trying to fit into the scheme he’s attempting to run. And when he doesn’t have the players that translate, it’s difficult to run that style of offense. Obviously, his style is predicated on a fast pace, being able to move the chains, being able to put points on the board.
“Unfortunately, when you’re not able to move the chains, when you have inconsistency from the quarterback position, your defense spends a lot of time on the field and you end up leading the league in minutes on the field from a defensive standpoint which is not where you want to be. You wear those guys out. And if you don’t have a defense that’s able to stand up and step on the field and do what it needs to do, it’s a very negative situation.
“I think when you look at the 49ers, there has been a positive from the standpoint of their running game. Carlos Hyde has had a fairly strong year. But, you can’t rely on just your running game when you need to score points and you need to keep up with teams. That’s one thing the 49ers have not been able to do well — they have not been able to finish drives. They haven’t been able to put points on the board.
“And it comes down to consistency. You look at the 49ers a few years ago, they were very strong on the offensive line, very strong on the defensive line — those are anchors to your team. They don’t have that strength any more. For whatever reason, those areas of emphasis have deteriorated within the system, within the team.
“And, you have a quarterback who struggles to be accurate and consistent on a weekly basis. He hasn’t made a lot of mistakes, hasn’t turned the ball over a lot. But, he also hasn’t generated big plays, hasn’t generated consistent drives, hasn’t generated enough touchdowns through the air in the amount of time he has played. And, those things all are detrimental and difficult to overcome when you’re a team in turmoil, a team in transition. They just don’t have the leadership or the strength on either side of the ball or in special teams that gives them a chance to compete on a weekly basis and win football games.