49ers

Healthy Jacobs forces issue on special teams

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Healthy Jacobs forces issue on special teams

SANTA CLARA -- Brandon Jacobs came off the practice field from his individual workout Tuesday and went into the locker room where the media waited to hear the status of his injured left knee.

Im ready to play. Its nothing now. Its all gone now, Jacobs said.

The knee injury has kept Jacobs out of the first four games of the season. But before the 30-year-old running back can return to play his first game, he has to return to a full practice with his team, which he has not yet done.

Hopefully I can get out and go practice this week take some reps and do some hard running and see where things go from there, Jacobs said. The hard running is in me to be that way, but I want to go out and be able to get out and do some fancy fast running and really put em down and pick em up and see how things feel. I just finished running outside, I ran some 60s. Thats as far as I can run. I felt pretty good. Its the little kinks I gotta run out, but I feel good.

The 49ers brought Jacobs in on a one-year deal before the start of the season, hoping to cash in on his explosive power. That power showed during the preseason where he was a perfect four-for-four in converting all of his short-yardage situations into first downs. He gained eight yards on his only carry on a first-and-10, the same play in which he injured his knee. But Jacobs feels hes close to a return.

STUHLBARG: Jacobs -- 'I want to get hit'

I feel good about my explosiveness. Ive got fresh legs other than the injury. My legs are pretty fresh. They havent been banged on like a lot of these guys in the league, Jacobs said. I know its coming, but I feel good, just leaving it up to coach and our medical staff to put me where they think I should be.

Where the coaches think Jacobs should be come game time against Buffalo creates an interesting choice for them. The 49ers' stable of running backs is full and doing just fine with the overall running game ranked third best in the league. But Jacobs' power is needed on third downs. San Francisco converted only 4-of-12 (33) third downs against a Jets defense that at the time was the worst in the league on third downs. San Francisco's offense currently ranks 22nd in the league in third down efficiency.

Activating Jacobs to help bolster their third down struggles will leave the 49ers short-handed elsewhere. More than likely, a player on special teams will have to be inactive for Jacobs to be a go. Jacobs is one of the few players on the roster who does not play a dual role, though he's not opposed to it.

I havent been in the special teams meetings, but whatever they need, Jacobs said. Coach, hell come to me, hell talk to me but nothings been spoke of yet.

MAIOCCO: 49ers offensive review -- Running backs

But the possibility of having Jacobs available to help keep drives going seems to be worth the risk.

You put a guy that size and with his power and strength behind that offensive line, said fullback Bruce Miller, I dont think youre going to see him going backwards. Hes going to fall forward and get the tough yards that we need and move the chains.

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.”