Geep Chryst, much like Tomsula, knows his job is on the line. As I just wrote, I can’t believe Chryst is still employed by the San Francisco 49ers after his league-worst offense dropped that stinker in Cleveland. Regression from where they were is difficult to imagine, but that’s Chryst’s (and the 49ers’) reality.
Like Tomsula yesterday, Chryst brought up “execution” in today’s press conference. He also called out several players. These are all quotes from Chryst during the same media session.
Bruce Miller: “The second sack, specifically, we had Bruce over there and a tight end. But the person that was beat wasn’t Erik (Pears) or the tight end.”
Bruce Ellington: “It’s unfortunate, because when we watch the tape there was some chances. The pass that we had to Bruce Ellington in the first half … we’re saying, ‘Hey, we’re at the edge of field goal range.’ The next play was when we threw the ball to Bruce. Good throw, good protection, we didn’t catch the ball. Bruce feels bad. He comes back, we run another run play. Bruce Elllington actually goes down and knocks Donte Whiter — we all know Donte — flat on his back. It was probably the best block I’ve seen a receiver make this year.”
(Chryst mentioned the Ellington drop one more time later in the press conference.)
Unknown receiver: “We had a third down call in the red zone after a turnover where the receiver didn’t run a slant route.”
(It’s hard to tell who Chryst is blaming on this play. Blake Bell ran a slant route from the right, although he ran at more of a 25-degree angle than a 45-degree angle, and was tackled after catching Gabbert’s pass about four yards short of the first down marker. Three receivers were bunched to the left. Anquan Boldin ran a short route to the sideline, and neither Torrey Smith nor Quinton Patton ran slant routes.)
Blaine Gabbert: “Blaine has done really well in situational football. Two-minute, alright. Red zone. What he hasn’t done as good a job as we need to as a team is third down. Another place where we’ve struggled is we’ve gone three-and-out too often at the start of games.”
Andrew Tiller and Blake Bell: “The other thing that we look closely at is you often hear us compliment this team on how they practice. The energy and the enthusiasm that they bring. There’s really no way when you have an Andrew Tiller, who’s really starting for the first time, or Blake Bell … how do you simulate game reps? How fast things happen in games? We can do our best in the practice reps, but there’s an invaluable experience that you have playing at the speed that an NFL game goes at. I think that sometimes, you watch that on tape is that we have negative plays, we don’t see something, we don’t react to something, and oftentimes it’s an inexperienced player. We’re trying to give them experience, we expect them to get better, we’ve made improvement, but not for this game.”
(Chryst would later go on to compliment Tiller when a reporter asked specifically about how Tiller has been playing.)
The comments by Joe Staley and Ahmad Brooks (without mentioning names): “I think in the context of the game, you forget all those little plays and you start to react to what the scoreboard says. And when the scoreboard says you’re losing, or the scoreboard says at the end of the game you’ve lost, you have a passionate reaction of disappointment. And when you come in for the postgame commentary, that’s what’s reflected.”
(By “little plays,” he was referring to the missed blocks, dropped passes and penalties he described earlier.)
Quinton Patton: “And I think that becomes what’s frustrating for all of us on the team and the fans included, is that it was a 10-3 game in the second half. We actually threw the exact same pattern combination that we hit in Chicago to Quinton Patton. But, what did Quinton Patton do just before the start of the snap? He was leaning forward on his motion. We’ve gone in motion a thousand times. Why did he on that one play do that? You know, is it a lack of experience in going in motion? Was he excited about making the play? We completed the play. Again, that’s a plus-23 in a 10-3 game, the way that we had been operating in the red zone and what we did at the end of the game in terms of the end zone, we could tie that game up right there. Instead, that’s a penalty. The next two plays are sacks and it materially affects how you feel about the game. I know it affected me, how I felt about the game.
After listening to Chryst give a few compliments to his players, but more frequently harp on individual players’ mistakes, Eric Branch finished the press conference with an outstanding question.
Branch: You mentioned, obviously accurately so, Ellington’s drop and Patton’s penalty and this guy missed a block and everything. Obviously, people look at the offense as a whole and it’s ranked last. A lot of people are pointing to you. You’ve had injuries, you’ve had personnel issues and all that. When you look at this season, how do you evaluate yourself? Are there things you say I wish I had that back?
Chryst: “First off, what you evaluate is, we went back through the other day, we have completions to 19 different 49ers. Proud of that stat because that means there’s a lot of people that we’ve had to quickly fold into and ramp up for games. And your question, the question I ask myself is, is this a trend? Concussion protocol or injuries, is this the way that the game is going in which case the stuff that you work on in training camp as part of your core offense or the stuff that we ran off of 13-personnel or with Carlos Hyde, we can’t use that. We can’t use that because we don’t have three tight ends dressed out. We can’t use that because we don’t have Carlos Hyde. So, any analysis of the offense starts with who are the people that you have and what do they do best and then can we put them in a position to execute. You watch teams, getting ready for Cincinnati, how fun is Pittsburgh to watch as an offense? There’s Ben Roethlisberger throwing to Antonio Brown and there’s Heath Miller. What jumps out at me are the savvy plays that they make outside of the chalk line, outside of what the scheme is. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get better. I thought that since Blaine has come in, how would I evaluate the offense? Blaine’s done a nice job with the offense. I thought for four games, we were making those strides. The two losses being to two pretty good, playoff caliber teams and then this was step back. But, each game is a chapter and you have to author what you can in the chapter. And at the end of the day, I feel incredibly responsible for it. I know what my preparation is. I know how hard the staff that works on the offensive side works. I know how hard Jimmy T works at it. We would love to pour experience or playmaking ability or all of that into every player that’s out there. We want them to be successful. We want to put them in a position to be successful. But, at the end of the day, and that’s the beauty of the game, you either make a play at that point in time or you don’t. And that’s football.”
Chryst is effectively patting himself on the back for getting so many people involved in the passing game with all of the injuries the 49ers have sustained. (Ask a team like the Patriots if a long list of injuries to skill position players is a valid excuse.) Then he wistfully described what it’d be like to be the offensive coordinator for the Steelers, more or less. Once again, he’s complaining about the hand he’s been dealt, without saying those exact words.