49ers

Garcia surprised by lack of 49ers franchise QB, fully believes in Shanahan

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AP

Garcia surprised by lack of 49ers franchise QB, fully believes in Shanahan

The succession of 49ers Pro Bowl quarterbacks ended a decade-and-a-half ago with Jeff Garcia.

After Joe Montana came Steve Young. And when Young retired, Garcia stepped onto the field with the 49ers and earned three consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl. Garcia set the franchise record with 4,278 passing yards in 2000.

Since Garcia’s departure, no other 49ers quarterback has come within 900 yards of his mark.

“It is surprising with the way the game has opened up and you see the amount of yards quarterbacks are throwing for on a consistent basis,” Garcia said.

“It is surprising that they haven’t been able to develop a quarterback to become that face of the franchise.”

Garcia believes the 49ers’ passing game will be rejuvenated this season under first-year head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer. And Garcia will be a keen observer in his new role as analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area for “49ers Pregame Live” and “49ers Postgame Live.”

“Obviously, football is something that’s comfortable and familiar to me,” said Garcia, who has done some work in the past with the NFL Network. “I thought this was an opportunity to get back in front of the camera and share my knowledge, my enthusiasm and my personality.”

Garcia, 47, lives in San Diego and has four children – all the under the age of 10. After one season of coaching in the Canadian Football League, one season as an assistant with the St. Louis Rams and several years working as a private quarterbacks coach, Garcia said his focus is now on his family.

But the Gilroy native has continued to keep close tabs on his former team through the years. Two years after Garcia left the 49ers, the club selected Alex Smith with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 draft.

“They wanted a franchise quarterback in Alex Smith and it didn’t work out that way,” Garcia said. “When you go through inconsistencies of coaching staffs and offenses you’re trying to learn year-in and year-out, it doesn’t put you in a position to have great success.”

The 49ers thought they had a franchise quarterback with Colin Kaepernick, but his production leveled off after a strong start upon taking over for Smith in the middle of the 2012 season.

“When you look at Colin and break down his skillset, it’s not one of a natural passer,” Garcia said. “He struggles with accuracy. I think he struggles with processing his decision-making, going through the reads 1, 2 and 3.

“I don’t think they could truly build a pro-style offense around what he offered on the field.”

Garcia has deep appreciation for the system Mike Shanahan ran while head coach of the Denver Broncos. Garcia said he sees similarities in what first-year 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has done throughout his coaching career.

“When his dad was in Denver, there was a time I almost signed with Denver just because I wanted to play in that system,” Garcia said. “I like how they move the quarterbacks, and use different set-up points, how they set up opportunities in the passing game because of their great run game and the zone scheme they work with and the play-action and the movement. All those things part of my skillset would’ve been great in that system.”

Hoyer, 31, begins his ninth NFL season with his seventh different team. Garcia believes Hoyer, who enters the first regular-season opener of his career as a starting quarterback, has the ability to thrive in Shanahan’s offense.

“With Hoyer, I think you have a quarterback who understands the game very well,” Garcia said. “He’s been around. He’s mature. He’s been around Tom Brady. He knows how to prepare. He understands the ins and outs of how to prepare as a leader. And he had a stint in Cleveland with Kyle Shanahan.

“I think Brian has enough of the skillset and mentality to make good decisions and be a productive quarterback.”

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

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USATSI

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

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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.”