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Why the 49ers are 3-5 Instead of 5-3

Coming into the season, the 49ers seemed to think all they had to do to ensure a postseason appearance was to get a better backup quarterback.
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There 49ers have been a bitter dissappointment through the first eight games of the season, and Jimmy Garoppolo isn't the reason why.

Garoppolo has missed only one game. And when he's been on the field, he has played well for the most part. And when he was injured, his replacement, Trey Lance, played well, too.

You can't blame the quarterback position for the 49ers' being two games under .500.

Coming into the season, the 49ers seemed to think all they had to do to ensure a postseason appearance was to get a better backup quarterback. It's as though they blamed last season's 6-10 record 100-percent on Nick Mullens, who replaced Garoppolo when he got injured.

So the 49ers traded three first-round picks plus a third for Lance, so if Garoppolo missed more time, the 49ers would have a high-level backup and still make the playoffs.

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But the 49ers aren't on track to make the playoffs. Which means they grossly overrated the rest of their roster, particularly their secondary. They thought re-signing Jason Verrett, K'Waun Williams, Emmanuel Moseley and Jaquiski Tartt would be good enough. They miscalculated.

Verrett and Tartt got injured, as they usually do, and now the 49ers have an awful secondary full of late-round draft picks and cheap veterans such as Josh Norman and Dre Kirkpatrick who need to retire -- something anyone could have seen coming. Anyone except the 49ers, apparently.

The 49ers lost to the Packers Week 3 because their secondary couldn't hold a lead with 37 seconds left. On the Packers' final offensive play, rookie Deommodore Lenoir played zone while the rest of the defense played man to man, so he gave up the catch that put Green Bay into field goal range.

Then a few weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts, the 49ers lost because they didn't have a cornerback who could cover Michael Pittman Jr. without holding or grabbing him. The Colts' most effective play was to throw deep and wait for the inevitable pass interference penalty.

Had the 49ers spent their second-round pick on cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., who's good, perhaps they would have won those two games, and their record would be 5-3 instead of 3-5.

Too bad.