49ers

Instant Analysis: Shanahan era starts ugly for 49ers in loss to Panthers

Instant Analysis: Shanahan era starts ugly for 49ers in loss to Panthers

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SANTA CLARA – The area of quarterback Brian Hoyer’s game that provided the 49ers with their most-pleasant surprise during training camp was his ability to throw the deep ball.

And it did not take long for everyone to see him loft a well-thrown deep down the field. On the 49ers’ first possession, speedster Marquise Goodwin ran under the pass for what looked the kind of big play that is a function of Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

But Goodwin dropped the ball. It was just the first of many glaring mistakes and miscalculations for the 49ers in Shanahan’s regular-season debut – a 23-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

Shanahan brings a proven offensive system with him to the 49ers after fielding top-10 units in six of his nine years as an NFL offensive coordinator. But in his first game as coach, it was apparent just how much work is in front of Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.

The 49ers opened the season with 30 newcomers on their 53-man roster. But during Week 1, there was no erasing the memory of last year’s 2-14 team in Chip Kelly’s one-and-only season with the club.

Goodwin dropped the deep ball. And one play after dynamic rookie linebacker Reuben Foster was sidelined with a right ankle injury, free safety Jaquiski Tartt gave up a deep pass, then failed to make the tackle on Russell Shepard en route to a 40-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton.

Hoyer was sacked four times in the first half, including a sack-strip that left guard Zane Beadles surrendered that led to the Panthers’ first touchdown of the game. Hoyer gave the Panthers a gift early in the third quarter with an interception to Luke Kuechly. Carolina turned that into a touchdown for a 20-0 lead.

The 49ers were penalized 10 times for 74 yards in the first half, including two illegal-formation flags. There were dropped passes, missed tackles and no semblance of a pass rush from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s unit.

Shanahan miscalculated twice in the second quarter, twice turning the ball over on downs near midfield. The Panthers capitalized on both situations with field goals, including Graham Gano’s 36-yarder on the final play of the first half.

Hoyer completed 24 of 35 passes for 193 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in his 49ers debut. Hoyer has played for seven teams throughout his nine-year career.

FOSTER SIDELINED
Foster went down in the first half with a right ankle injury while tackling rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. Foster was taken off the field in a cart for further observation in the 49ers’ locker room. While Foster did not return to action, he did return to the 49ers under his own power to spend the rest of the first half on the team’s sideline. He watched the second half on the sideline without cleats or pads.

THIS ‘N’ THAT
--Tartt made the start at free safety in place of Jimmie Ward, who has yet to make it through a full practice after sustaining a hamstring injury during the team’s conditioning test on the eve of training camp.

Tartt had a rough game but did supply a highlight reel play with a one-handed interception of a deep Newton pass in the first half. After giving up the long touchdown pass to Shepard, Tartt was also called for unnecessary roughness penalty against tight end Greg Olsen after a pass Newton badly overthrew.

--Rookie George Kittle started at tight end and caught five passes for 27 yards.

--Slot receiver Trent Taylor caught one pass for 8 yards and handled the punt return chores in his NFL debut. He had one return for 9 yards and a fair catch.

--Cornerback Rashard Robinson forced and recovered a fumble against Christian McCaffrey in the fourth quarter but the 49ers were unable to capitalize. The offense ended up turning it over on downs for the third time in the game.

--Running back Carlos Hyde gained 45 yards on nine rushing attempts. He also caught six passes for 32 yards.

--The 49ers honored former fullback and assistant coach Tom Rathman at halftime. Rathman was officially inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame during a ceremony Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium.

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.”