49ers

Ginn hopeful for Sunday, Harbaugh happily cryptic

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Ginn hopeful for Sunday, Harbaugh happily cryptic

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is demonstrating that his team's success is blind to the names on his players' jerseys. The 49ers have two wins without the man they expected to anchor their return game, and without the man acquired to ensure third-and-short conversions.San Francisco is beating the NFL's best, bereft of their depth chart champions.Ted Ginn and Brandon Jacobs are still inactive, but their replacements have stepped up in such a major way that head coach Jim Harbaugh is having reservations about plugging in his veterans when they're healthy.

Ted Ginn and Brandon Jacobs are yet to be active, but their replacements have stepped up in such a major way, that head coach Jim Harbaugh is having reservations about plugging in his veterans when they're healthy.

MAIOCCO: Roles for Ginn, Jacobs

Ginn and Jacobs were in the locker room on Tuesday, and they looked healthy. While Jacobs and his knee are less than likely to be ready by Sunday, Ginn's ankle is progressing.

"It's better." Ginn said. "I'm taking it day by day."

Asked if it was realistic to hope he'll play in the team's Week 3 assignment in Minnesota, Ginn responded, "I hope so."

Kyle Williams has handled the lion's share of the return duties in Ginn's stead, and he has handled them admirably. Williams safely returned one punt Sunday for eight yards, and handled one kickoff. His only Week 1 punt return went for 20 yards and set up David Akers' record-tying 63-yard field goal at halftime.

While a contingent of the 49ers fan base did not want to see Williams back deep after his performance in the 2011 NFC Championship, neither Harbaugh nor Williams have let it affect their plans or preparations.

It is unclear how the responsibility will be handled after Ginn's return.

Behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, going for 64 yards on 14 rushes. Without a third-down bruiser like Jacobs, the 49ers have converted six of 20 third downs so far.

"We're going to play the guys you feel each week that give us the best chance to win and are practicing better and who ultimately are going to play better in the game," Harbaugh said, "You also need to see that on the practice field."

Ginn and Jacobs have not been seen practicing, and Harbaugh is enamored with the idea that his opponents know as much as the rest of us with regard to who will be on the field Sunday.

"There are a lot of possibilities there," Harbaugh said. "And you like to have your opponent think about all those possibilities."

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

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Twitter/@49ers

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

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USATSI

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.”