SANTA CLARA–After four consecutive losses to open the season, the 49ers are well aware that the clock is ticking.
San Francisco has been held without a touchdown in three of their four defeats, including on Sunday, when the 49ers dropped an overtime contest against the Arizona Cardinals by a final score of 18-15.
Though the 49ers rank 19th in the NFL in total yardage, San Francisco has struggled mightily converting on their opponents’ side of the 50-yard line and in the red zone, as the team ranks 29th in the league in red zone touchdown percentage.
On Wednesday, quarterback Brian Hoyer addressed the team’s red zone struggles and lack of results, and said now that the 49ers have finished the first quarter of their regular season schedule, it’s time to start converting on more opportunities.
“For sure, I think every week everybody knows results, that’s what it is,” Hoyer said. “Look around the league, coaching, players, if you don’t give the results, people are going to make changes, that’s just the way it goes. That’s how life goes, really. I think if anything we just know that we have the capability to do it, we just have to go out and do it.”
The 49ers rank 30th in third down conversion percentage, and Hoyer is completing just 58 percent of his passes through four games. With two touchdowns and four interceptions to his name, Hoyer’s play hasn’t exactly lived up to the expectations that the 49ers set at the beginning of the year.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has maintained confidence in the 49ers’ starter, but did say on Wednesday that backup C.J. Beathard is continuing to take reps with the first team offense. Hoyer injured his back during Sunday’s loss, but should be able to practice in full this week. Shanahan said that if he’s unable to take his normal allotment of reps, then the 49ers will ask Beathard to play more with the first team than he usually does.
“C.J. always does,” Shanahan said, when asked if Beathard will practice with the first team. “We always give C.J. reps with the first team. Always do that with the backup quarterbacks, you don’t have the starter take every single rep, you mix him in. You’re mixing in when the quarterback is 100 percent, and if he can’t take them all, then you’ve got to mix him in more.”
Shanahan said that it’s possible Hoyer’s lack of execution on Sunday against the Cardinals was due to the injury he suffered during the game. Though Hoyer was able to continue playing, he wasn’t effective during the fourth quarter against Arizona, which hampered San Francisco’s ability to move the football. The 49ers’ first-year head coach said that he doesn’t think Hoyer’s injury will impact his play this week, especially considering Hoyer was expected to participate in Wednesday’s practice.
“I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him on that,” Shanahan said. “It’s always harder to play when you’re not feeling 100 percent, but I don’t think any football player feels 100 percent throughout a game. You get hit throughout a game and then it does wear on you. But I know he’s practicing today, he’s good enough to practice and I’m sure he’s still trying to recover.”