Around the NFC West: 49ers' problems

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee blames the 49ers' coaching staff for a poor game plan against the Packers. Barrows: "The 49ers had what amounted to a second bye week to get ready for a game with all sorts of NFC playoff implications. It's not that they swung and missed Sunday. It's that they didn't start swinging until they were down." When the 49ers hired Mike Singletary, team president Jed York said the team needed more intensity. I didn't think that was the problem at all. The team played hard for Mike Nolan. Singletary was going to make the 49ers play smarter. That has happened, but the offensive line has failed to develop, the 49ers remain unsettled at quarterback and the team failed to acquire a legitimate pass-rusher. Those are the real problems facing the 49ers.

Also from Barrows: a report card and a 49ers injury update. Barrows: "Eight players landed on the report, including starting left guard David Baas (ankle) and return man Arnaz Battle (leg strain). The others are: Michael Robinson (stinger), Mark Roman (rib), Reggie Smith (groin), Marcus Hudson (back) and Delanie Walker (forearm)."

More from Barrows: Rookie Michael Crabtree offers advice to the 49ers' coaching staff. More fast-break offense, please. Crabtree: "It enabled everybody to get open and make plays. It kind of opened it up for all the playmakers we have."

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News questions whether Alex Smith is the right player at quarterback for the 49ers. Purdy: "Which is to say that Smith regressed. In a big way. As the 49ers fell behind by 20 points at Lambeau Field on a chilly but otherwise benign day, Smith was rushed, bewildered and aimless. He had 5 passing yards at halftime. In fact, Smith was so wretched that even when he recovered to throw three second-half touchdown passes, he still convinced no one that he is the long-term answer to the 49ers' quarterback issues." The second-half performance certainly helped.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' 30-24 defeat to the Packers was plenty familiar. Crumpacker: "Alex Smith, about as horrid as a quarterback can be in one half of play (3-for-7 passing for 5 yards), brought the 49ers back from 20 points down at the break to be down only six in the fourth quarter, and needing only one more drive to finish off a comeback. Didn't happen, of course. Hasn't happened all season in a string of close losses on the road at Minnesota, Houston, Indianapolis and now Green Bay."

Also from Crumpacker: The 49ers' defense turned in a "hugely disappointing" performance.

More from Crumpacker: The 49ers lack an identity in the return game.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at whether the 49ers should adopt more of a spread offense to suit Smith's skills. Crabtree and Vernon Davis think they should, but coach Mike Singletary is not convinced.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com says the team could not overcome getting outscored 17-0 in the second quarter against Green Bay.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Smith threw an interception on the only second-half play the 49ers ran from under center. The team used the shotgun on 28 of 29 plays after halftime.

Also from Maiocco: "The 49ers (4-6) fell three games behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West. They’re also two games behind NFC wild-card front-runners Green Bay, Philadelphia and the New York Giants with six games to play."

More from Maiocco: The 49ers' secondary had trouble living up to the standard it set against Jay Cutler in Week 10.

More yet from Maiocco: a report card featuring a "D" grade for the 49ers' coaching staff.