Cox takes over as backup in return game


Cox takes over as backup in return game

SANTA CLARA -- Cornerback Perrish Cox will help the 49ers compensate for season-ending injuries to Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter.Ted Ginn will continue to handle the main duties on kickoffs and punts. Cox has been tabbed as the team's new backup return man, he told CSNBayArea.com on Friday, just prior to the 49ers' departure to play the St. Louis Rams.Williams and Hunter are the only other players on the roster who have returned kicks this season. Williams led the 49ers with averages of 13.0 yards on four punt returns and 27.2 yards on 13 kickoff returns.Hunter averaged 23.6 yards on seven kickoff returns. Ginn has averaged 10.6 yards on 25 punt returns and 23.0 yards on 11 kickoff returns.Williams (left knee) and Hunter (left Achilles) were placed on injured reserve this week and are officially out for the season."I really feel bad for both of those guys," Cox said. "Now, I have to step up whenever I'm called on."Cox, who did not have any kick returns in the exhibition season, has been practicing punt and kickoff returns all season, he said. He returned kicks with the Denver Broncos in the 2010 regular season and in training camp the following year. In 2010, he averaged 2.3 yards on three punt returns, with a 19.1 average on nine kickoffs.Rookie running back LaMichael James has been listed on the 49ers' depth chart as the No. 2 man behind Ginn on both kickoffs and punts. James has not been active for a game this season.Coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday declined to comment on the team's backups on punt and kickoff returns. Harbaugh did reveal, however, that Ginn takes over for Williams as the team's emergency quarterback. Ginn played quarterback in high school.With David Akers limited this week in practices due to a pelvis injury, Harbaugh said the emergency kicker is Andy Lee or Isaac Sopoaga. Akers has been cleared to play Sunday.

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017


What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Bay Area sports teams and your favorite players have plenty to be thankful for this year. 

Check out how the teams and players are celebrating Thanksgiving in 2017.

Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season


Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season

SANTA CLARA – The two quarterbacks who finish this season with the 49ers are probably going to be the same two quarterbacks the organization carry on their 2018 roster.

So every decision coach Kyle Shanahan makes with C.J. Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo is being made to consider what is best for those two players.

Shanahan made the expected announcement this week that Beathard will make his fifth consecutive start on Sunday when the 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

Beathard is coming off his best game as a pro. He was a major contributor to the 49ers’ first victory of the season, throwing for 288 yards, throwing two touchdowns and rushing for a score in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. His performance seemingly did enough to earn him another start.

Meanwhile, Garoppolo pulled up to 49ers headquarters on Oct. 31 with no prior knowledge of Shanahan’s offensive system. Even as a rookie, Beathard has five more months of experience in the 49ers’ offense than Garoppolo, a four-year professional who made just two starts during his time with the New England Patriots.

“We’ve had C.J. in there for some time,” Shanahan said. “He’s getting more used to it, and I’m getting more used to him. The players are getting more used to him around him. It’s been nice to add a few things each week for him.”

General manager John Lynch reiterated this week he considers Garoppolo the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. Garoppolo is not under contract for next season. If the 49ers are unable to work out a multi-year extension, the club would be expected to designate him as their franchise player to retain him for the 2018 season.

Garoppolo is likely to get some playing time in the final six games of the season, but the 49ers have every reason to take their time in order to give him the best chance at success. On the first three days of the bye week, Garoppolo had a chance to go back to the beginning and learn the basics of the scheme in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello and Shanahan.

Shanahan’s scheme is complex with unique verbiage and an abundance of adjustments that are required on any given play. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan took a step backward in his first season in Shanahan's scheme. The next year, Ryan was a runaway MVP winner with a career-high 38 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions.

It took Ryan a full season of experience with Shanahan to fully grasp his responsibilities, so it is unreasonable to believe Garoppolo would be able to do much more than just function if he gets onto the field for extended action.

“Jimmy gets more and more ready each week,” Shanahan said. “Is Jimmy going to be the best he can? To me, that’s impossible. He just hasn’t been here long enough, and I think he’ll get an opportunity to be better each week.

“I don’t think we’re going to see Jimmy’s best football, to be fair to him, until next year because that’s what guys need. But C.J. did play his best football last week, which definitely, to me, made the decision easier.”