SANTA CLARA, Calif.
Jim Harbaugh showed up for work Monday with the same black sweater, khaki pants and San Francisco 49ers cap that he wore on the sidelines the day before and has suited up in for almost every practice and team meeting this season.
The wardrobe might be the only thing he doesn’t want to change.
Harbaugh said Monday he is “trying to forge an identity” with the 49ers and it will take time to turn things around, even making a comparison to the nation’s debt challenge. After blowing a two-touchdown lead in a 27-24 overtime loss to an injured Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, San Francisco certainly has some work to do.
Things will only get tougher when the 49ers play the first of two straight East Coast road games, Cincinnati (1-1) on Sunday and Philadelphia the following week. They will stay and practice in Youngstown, between games.
“I think we’re in the process of finding our identity and having it click on all cylinders,” Harbaugh said Monday. “We’re going to stick to our guns in a lot of ways. Disappointed like all fans, all players, all coaches, everybody involved. Disappointed but not discouraged. I feel we’re on track.”
For a coach known for his offensive ingenuity, Harbaugh’s offense has shown little imagination.
The 49ers (1-1) rank 31st in total offense through two games and have tried to flex their muscles on rare occasions. The only team that ranks worse is Seattle — which happens to be the team San Francisco beat in the opener — and also plays in the NFC West, by far the league’s worst division last season.
Even worse, the same problems that led to Mike Singletary getting fired started to resurface.
The offensive line created more holes for the defense than anything else. Alex Smith threw a costly second-half interception and was sacked six times against Dallas, and two-time Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore has run for 106 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries through two games.
None of which is the identity Harbaugh wants to bring.
“We want to be a running team. We want to be a throwing team. We want to be darn-near 50-50 and equally good in both,” Harbaugh said. “We are in a process. I know everybody wants to solve the debt today.”
Michael Crabtree is still nursing a troublesome left foot and fellow receiver Braylon Edwards injured his right knee on a 21-yard catch in the first quarter. Edwards was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.