NEW YORK, New York - 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst is a believer in the theory, "Timing is everything." He must be.
When asked this week about his offense's struggles, and why the passing game has been so anemic, timing was the constant theme. Chryst used the word 'timing' 13 times in his weekly press conference after the 49ers were outscored 112-28 during their three-game losing streak.
To this point, San Francisco owns the NFL's lowest-scoring offense, averaging 12 points a game, while amassing the second-fewest yards (289 per game). The team travels to take on the Giants Sunday, who have the league's top-ranked rush defense and last ranked passing defense.
"So, we use this term timing all the time, right? Timing in the pass game. And yet it is true," Chryst said Thursday. "When you watch the tape, let’s take the missed opportunities that we saw on tape. You can see it on TV, you can see it live at the game."
Chryst went on to go through a number of plays that didn't go the 49ers' way because of timing, among other things. One play he mentioned was the first sack Colin Kaepernick took at the Packers' 5-yard line Sunday, when receiver Anquan Boldin was bumpbed by a defender, throwing the play out of whack.
"We felt like we had an opportunity to throw to an open receiver," Chryst said. "Like anything else in a game, there was a collision between Anquan and the defender that was defending Bruce [Ellington]. So, that kind of canceled each other out. But, from a timing perspective, we called that play expecting a certain look. We got the certain look. I think everyone was onboard and excited for it. It ends up being a sack."
"...And again, the term timing. What do we mean by that specifically? We got the expected look. We got the play that we had repped during the week in practice."
That sack by Nick Perry was followed by another sack the next play by Jayrone Elliott, moving the 49ers back from the 5 to the 22 before having to settle for a Phil Dawson field goal to make it a 7-3 game with 4:28 remaining in the first half.
Correcting issues with timing and chemistry only comes with, wait for it, more time practicing together. However, getting the timing right between Kaepernick and his pass catchers is only half the equation.
The other half? Giving Kaepernick the time to let plays develop and find his receivers down field. Pocket presence has not been a strength of Kaepernick’s game this season, and a lack of consistent protection hasn’t been helping things for the offense.
Through four games, the 49ers offensive line is allowing pressure on 43 percent of Kaepernick's drop backs, ranking second to last in the NFL behind Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Kaepernick's 14 sacks puts him on pace to beat last year's total of 52, which was a career worst, and the second most in the NFL.
"Again, if all 11 are needed to run the ball, all 11 are needed to throw the ball. And that’s part of it as well," Chryst said.
The Giants' defense poses an interesting match up for San Francisco. It ranks first in defending the run, allowing 70 yards per game through the first quarter of the season. Conversely, they are allowing an NFL-worst 316 yards passing.
Chris Biderman is the Editor-in-Chief of Niners Digest and covers the 49ers from their headquarters in Santa Clara. Chris has been writing about the team since the spring of 2013. The Ohio State alum received his Journalism degree in 2011 and has been working in sports media since 2008. Chris, a Santa Rosa, Calif. native, is also a contributor to the Associated Press covering sports throughout the Bay Area. You can follow Chris on Twitter here.
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