SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Whether or not the 49ers change their quarterback, which head coach Jim Tomsula didn't rule out Monday, fullback Bruce Miller said the team could use something, anything, to stem the tide following the 2-6 start to the season.
"It needs a jolt and it needs it from every position. I know that we can play better at all 11 spots," Miller said. "And until we do that, and play together as a group, I think it’s fare to say that every position is under review. Because we got to play together as a group, not as individuals."
Miller came to the 49ers as a converted defensive lineman out of Central Florida in the seventh round of the 2011 draft. His rookie year, he quickly became a key figure in former head coach Jim Harbaugh's offense. That season, Harbaugh helped get San Francisco to the conference title game in his first campaign as head coach.
"It’s painful," Miller said. "You know my start here, my history here, where we started my career here. No, we’re not used to this. We were not expecting this."
Now, the 49ers own the NFL's worst offense and have scored seven points or fewer in four of their last six games. And at halfway through the season, the team's new head coach in considering a change at quarterback after Colin Kaepernick led the team to a Super Bowl appearance following the 2012 season and backed that up with a trip to the NFC title game in Seattle the next year.
But these clearly aren't the same 49ers. And that has made it hard for Miller to stay positive amid such a dreary state of affairs.
"I think that everyone here is competitive, grown, mature," Miller said. "There’s not a whole lot of positive right now, but we’re building, we’re going, we’re going to stay positive. We’re going to keep fighting."
Miller was asked how a change at quarterback would play in the locker room.
"I know that we’re right now trying to focus on individuals and make sure that we’re farming our own land so that when we put it together on the field, we can be successful," Miller said.
Miller started out his five-minute media session with the words "building" and "growing" when asked about the current state of the team. That's a far departure from the front office's words after the team parted with Harbaugh following last year's 8-8 season.
"This isn’t a rebuild situation. This is a reload situation," general manager Trent Baalke said Dec. 29, the day after Harbaugh was relieved of his coaching duties.
When asked Monday if this lost season has turned into a rebuilding situation, Tomsula said, "I'm not into the labels. I'm not into any of that. From the perspective of a coach or a player, we've got to do what we've got to do to focus to prepare to go win a football game."
The 49ers host the 6-2 Falcons at Levi's Stadium Sunday. The following week, they have their bye.
Whether Tomsula likes it or not, the 49ers have the second-worst record in the NFC, and the third-worst record in the NFL. It might be time to start eyeing the future, if he has one with the team beyond this season.
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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