C.J. Beathard must suffer so that Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't have to


C.J. Beathard must suffer so that Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't have to

After a Cardinals-49ers game that made the word “desultory” seem like a rave review, it can safely be said that even though he was on the sidelines throwing footballs and smiling a lot, Jimmy Garoppolo seems as far as away as he did when he was still a New England Patriot.

But since everything the San Franciscii do from this moment on will be framed for and by Garoppolo, there seems no better time to begin.

In losing to a profoundly bland Arizona team, 20-10, the 49ers maintained their position as Browns West. If not for a late-game brawl that resulted in Carlos Hyde, Haason Reddick and the gloriously named Frostee Rucker ejected, there would have been no reason whatsoever to remember this day as anything other than a poor expenditure of three hours and 22 minutes.

Especially for C.J. Beathard, the aptly named recipient of yet another strident and persistent pummeling.

Indeed, the 49er highlight of the day was Beathard, in one of his few upright moments,  banking a pass off the back of the head of tackle Trent Brown so that Karlos Dansby could intercept it in game’s final three minutes. That, children, is no way to entertain anyone – even people who bet the Cardinals and gave the 2 ½ points.

But Jimmy Garoppolo got to watch, and learn, and see how his six-week trial here is going to go. Beathard got hit once by a long list of Cardinal defenders – and by “once,” we mean “16 times,” or “one hit that lasted three hours.” Once again Kyle Shanahan credited Beathard’s toughness in such an onslaught, but that will hardly be of much comfort when Garoppolo takes the job, in all likelihood in Seattle in three weeks.

Then again, it is hard to see how Garoppolo’s immediate fate will be much different. The 49ers are that injured, and that limited, and that under-rostered – which of course everyone has known for weeks. They can go winless, though it still seems unlikely, but their place near the very top of the NFL Draft order is only a John Lynch phone call away.

That, though, is the short-term, and Garoppolo is the embodiment of a long and glorious future for a fan base that thinks that 2012 was 50 years ago. Which, oddly, is nearly the actual number of years since the last 49er quarterback assigned the jersey number 10 to actually throw a ball in anger (Dennis Morrison) did so.

This is the cynical world that envelops a bad football team. Shanahan said Garoppolo had essentially zero chance of playing Sunday, and in all likelihood not much better chance next Sunday against the 1-8 New York Giants in what will almost surely be the least anticipated game of this largely dreadful season.

But Garoppolo is the face of the franchise to be because he is the hope in which the organization has invested its future. As for C.J. Beathard, he is the face of its present – an earnest and game young man who is taking a weekly pounding until further notice so that Garoppolo doesn’t have to do so. It hardly seems fair, but it seems exactly like football in any place where football is played poorly. The present must suffer so the future can flower.

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'


Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”