Struggling 49ers sticking to long-term success plan

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan looks on against the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter at Levi's Stadium.Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Shanahan: "We’re going through a tough time right now. But that doesn’t change anything to me."

The San Francisco 49ers are off to a disastrous 1-6 start but coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Monday that he is not deviating from his plan to make the franchise relevant again in the NFL.

“Our record right now doesn’t impact the big picture,” Shanahan said. “It’s tough to deal with. It’s frustrating. We’re all working extremely hard and want much better results. But, just because the record doesn’t show that isn’t going to make you doubt yourself and go rip up your plans to do something totally new.”

San Francisco, coming off a 39-10 rout Sunday at the hands of unbeaten Los Angeles Rams, is tied for the NFL’s worst record with the Arizona Cardinals (who have beaten the 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif.) and the New York Giants.

The 49ers appear headed for a top-10 draft pick for the fourth year in a row. That kind of stretch has not happened to the 49ers since 1962-65.

The loss of valuable quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 3 with an ACL tear in his left knee made San Francisco’s season turn for the worst. The season-ending knee injury during the preseason to running back Jerick McKinnon, who is under a four-year, $30 million contract, set the wrong tone for the season.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have taken a long-term plan to rebuilding a once-proud franchise that finished 2-14 when they took over in February 2017. The 49ers have $40 million in cap space and could have as much as $69 million next spring, which projects to be the seventh-most in the NFL.

“We knew when we came here it was going to take some time,” Shanahan said. “We want that to be as fast as possible, there’s no doubt about that. But you don’t want to make stupid decisions because of that.

“We’re trying to be smart in everything we do. We’re not trying to just do this a quick, easy-fix way. We’re trying to build this thing to last. And to do that, it does take some time. (We) planned on it going faster and it hasn’t so far. But, that doesn’t make me lose any confidence in what we’re doing or the people that we have here. I know we need to continue to work and continue to get better. But we’re going through a tough time right now. But that doesn’t change anything to me where I feel we’re going.”

Good news for San Francisco: Their next three opponents — the Cardinals, Giants and Raiders — had a combined record of 3-16 before New York’s Monday night road game against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers’ seven previous opponents this season have a combined record of 29-16-2.

–FS Adrian Colbert will likely miss the rest of the season after suffering a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s game. The 49ers placed Colbert on injured reserve. They expect him to be out eight weeks until the team’s second-to-last game against the Chicago Bears Dec. 23.

–QB Tom Savage was once again signed by the 49ers to a one-year contract. The 28-year-old Savage, who made nine starts over three seasons with the Houston Texans, originally signed with San Francisco last Tuesday. He was waived Saturday when the 49ers promoted DB Tyvis Powell from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Rams because of injuries in the secondary. Savage provides San Francisco with a third quarterback alongside starter C.J. Beathard and backup Nick Mullens.

–RB Matt Breida is day-to-day after tweaking his left ankle Sunday, but “his strength is good,” coach Kyle Shanahan said.

–WR Pierre Garcon (knee) will be evaluated Wednesday to see his availability for Sunday’s game at Arizona.

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