49ers

How many plays will Garoppolo know in first start? 'Game plan is for Jimmy'

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USATSI

How many plays will Garoppolo know in first start? 'Game plan is for Jimmy'

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo is nowhere close to learning the entire 49ers’ offense.

But as he takes over as the 49ers' starter Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Garoppolo does not have to be comfortable with the entire breadth of coach Kyle Shanahan’s system.

“When you go into the week with him as the starter, the playbook is this week,” Shanahan said on Wednesday, one day after he informed Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard of his decision to make a change at quarterback.

“It’s not a big inventory of our training camp and OTAs. What’s our game plan to beat Chicago? We put that in all Monday night and Tuesday with the idea that we were going to go with Jimmy. This game plan is for Jimmy and he’ll work at it all week.”

Shanahan will meet with Garoppolo late in the week to solidify the call sheet for Sunday's game, he said.

"Whatever he doesn’t feel comfortable with and doesn’t get down in these three practices, then we’ll take it out," Shanahan said. "Whatever we go with on Sunday, he’ll know 100 percent of it."

Garoppolo, who arrived at 49ers headquarters on Oct. 31 after being acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots, is balancing his studies this week to learn the 49ers’ game plan making his first start this season while also gaining and understanding of the Bears’ defense.

“That’s been the tricky part the last couple of weeks,” Garoppolo said. “I’ve kind of gotten in to a little bit of a routine with that. I know I was the backup the last couple of weeks, but you still prepare like you’re the starter. Learning the other team’s defenses. Watching as much film as you can. There are still things we put in I’ll learn for the first time. That part of the learning curve, I’m pretty comfortable with now. I got a nice routine for it.”

Part of Garoppolo's routine will consist of meeting with center Daniel Kilgore to go through the 49ers’ different protections so they are working on the same page on Sunday. Kilgore realizes he must take on more responsibility with a quarterback who is still figuring out the team’s offense.

“He’s been in a complex offense before,” Kilgore said. “He knows how to study. He backed up Tom Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. I would say he feels much more comfortable since Day 1. How much more comfortable is he?

“Out of 10, he’s anywhere from a 6 to 7, from what I see. He just has to go out on Sunday and have fun.”

Beathard is still nursing a left knee bruise and a hip strain. He is not scheduled to practice on Wednesday. Shanahan said he is optimistic Beathard will practice Thursday and Friday and be available to serve as Garoppolo’s backup on Sunday.

If Beathard is unable to suit up, the 49ers would likely promote undrafted rookie quarterback Nick Mullens from the practice squad.

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.”