Jimmy Garoppolo's success comes scripted and unscripted

Jimmy Garoppolo's success comes scripted and unscripted

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Tuesday took his first look at the 49ers’ offensive game plan for this week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.

He had some questions.

“I came in and you hear terms for the first time that I’m like ‘What’s that formation?’ They have to explain it to me,” Garoppolo said. “That’s what’s different than the three years prior to this. In New England, you come in and you pretty much know what was going on. It’s becoming more and more routine I guess, getting the new information and kind of the process of breaking it all down now.”

Garoppolo spent his first 3 1/2 seasons with the Patriots before arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 in a trade.

There will be plenty for Garoppolo to learn during the offseason program. But he is slowly gaining more knowledge of Kyle Shanahan’s system after being exposed to seven unique game plans, including the final five of the season that have been tailored specifically for him as the starter.

“I think he gets more of a feel of what we’re doing and we start to get more of a feel of what he’s comfortable with,” Shanahan said. “You start to put a little bit more in of what you’ve had success with and it branches off. If you’ve had success with certain things, you can’t put in the exact same stuff because that’s all teams are practicing.

“You start to do some things off of that, but it’s allowed Jimmy to grow to where, ‘Hey, remember this play versus Chicago and why it worked? We’re going to do something similar to that this week, but this is the adjustment we’re going to make.’ There’s a little more foundation for him.”

While Garoppolo’s ability to carry out a plan has resulted in a vastly improved 49ers offense, it’s his ability to improvise that has perhaps been his most impressive trait. There is only so much preparation that can take place after any given play veers off course, and that's where Garoppolo has excelled.

“The off-schedule stuff, it’s called off-schedule because you can’t really plan for that stuff,” Garoppolo said.

“I think it’s organic,” Shanahan said. “The main thing we stress is guys just to keep working. . . . Never stop and just watch the play. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

“I don’t like practicing a lot or putting in plays that don’t get people open so you have to worry about doing that. We’ve had a number of times in this last month where he’s made some off-schedule plays. And the more it happens, guys start to believe in it and the more guys start working to do it.”

One example in which Garoppolo demonstrated his ability to quickly get on the same unwritten page as a receiver came on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On a third-and-goal situation from the 5, the Jaguars dropped eight defenders into coverage. Garoppolo could not find anyone open, so he moved out of the pocket and ran to his left, parallel to the line of scrimmage to buy time.

Then, as nickel back Aaron Colvin left his coverage responsibilities to close in on Garoppolo from the front -- and with defensive lineman Calais Campbell pursuing from the side -- Garoppolo snapped a sidearm toss around Colvin to Trent Taylor for the unscripted touchdown.

As much as Garoppolo's ability to get the ball to Taylor was notable, the quarterback gave a great deal of credit to the rookie wideout for finding a way to help Garoppolo find him.

“Just the savviness for him to have as a rookie,” Garoppolo said. “I haven’t seen many guys with it. He did kind of a circle in the end zone and it got him open. The defender froze his feet and he made a tremendous catch. I didn’t really see it, but I saw it on film and that was a great catch.”

49ers 2018 scheduled released: Analysis and predictions

49ers 2018 scheduled released: Analysis and predictions

The 49ers released their full 2018 schedule on Thursday evening. Here's the slate:

Sunday, Sept. 9, at Minnesota, 10 a.m. (FOX)
There was a time when we thought the Vikings’ quarterback would be suiting up for the road team in this matchup. But, thanks to Bill Belichick’s generosity, Jimmy Garoppolo will be wearing the road whites while Kirk Cousins and his talented supporting cast will be decked out in purple. Garoppolo’s undefeated run as a starting quarterback is put to the test in the opening week. And San Francisco newcomer Jerick McKinnon gets an early chance to prove to his former team that he should have been an every-down running back. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Sept. 16, vs. Detroit, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
First-year Lions head coach Matt Patricia – and the pencil behind his ear – travel to the Bay Area for the organization’s first visit to Levi’s Stadium. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Sept. 23, at Kansas City, 10 a.m. (FOX)
Alex Smith’s five-year run as Kansas City’s starting quarterback came to an end. Arrowhead Stadium is now Patrick Mahomes’ home, and it remains a difficult environment for road teams. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Sept. 30, at L.A. Chargers, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
Fans of the 49ers travel well. The challenge is on to snap up as many of the 27,000 tickets in the Charges’ temporary home venue as possible. The 49ers will need a lot of help against a talented team that finished last season with a lot of momentum. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Oct. 7, vs. Arizona, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
The Cardinals have undergone a facelift with the retirements of head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer. The new crew of coach Steve Wilks and Sam Bradford – or whoever ends up at QB – inherits a six-game head-to-head win streak against the 49ers. Prediction: W.

Monday, Oct. 15, at Green Bay, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Aaron Rodgers did not get any say in Packers personnel matters this offseason, and we’re hearing the NFL schedule-maker did not consult him, either. But he certainly will not complain about this prime-time matchup against the team for which he rooted as a child growing up in Chico. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Oct. 21, vs. L.A. Rams, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)
This could be a pivotal mid-season matchup featuring two franchises that took different approaches during the offseason. The 49ers were measured in free agency, while the Rams played fantasy football. L.A. general manager Les Snead went all-in during the offseason with the additions of cornerback Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, along with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Brandin Cooks. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Oct. 28, at Arizona, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
After back-to-back three-point losses in the desert the past couple of seasons, the 49ers will need to take care of business against the Cardinals to be serious contenders for a playoff spot. Prediction: W.

Thursday, Nov. 1, vs. Oakland, 5:20 p.m. (FOX/NFLN)
Levi’s Stadium was built as a two-team facility, just in case the Raiders were interested in moving to the South Bay. In the building’s fifth year, the Vegas-bound Silver and Black finally get a look inside. Facing the 49ers during a short week is ideal for the Raiders, as Jon Gruden and Co. do not have to step on a plane. Kyle Shanahan will match wits against the man who gave him his first NFL job. Shanahan was Gruden’s offensive quality control coach in 2004-’05 with Tampa Bay. Prediction: W.

Monday, Nov. 12, vs. N.Y. Giants, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN)
The 49ers have a short week, followed by a long week. A year ago, the Giants’ trip to Levi’s Stadium resulted in the end of the losing streak of 49ers’ franchise-worst start. C.J. Beathard was under center that day, and Marquise Goodwin provided one of the highlights of the season with an 83-yard touchdown catch just hours after he and his wife lost their baby boy due to complications from pregnancy. Prediction: W.

Bye week

Sunday, Nov. 25, at Tampa Bay, 10 a.m. (FOX)
The 49ers will have to go light on the tryptophan from their Thanksgiving feasts to be ready for the cross-country travel and their matchup against Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. The 49ers will be making just their second trip to Tampa of the past 14 seasons. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 2, at Seattle, 5:20 p.m. (NBC)
Is there any doubt Richard Sherman will be a little bit hyped to go back to Seattle with something to prove to Pete Carroll and John Schneider? The “12s” will find out what it’s like when Sherman is not on their team. It’s a different Seattle team, but Russell Wilson is as elusive as ever. Prediction: L.

Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Denver, 1:05 p.m. (CBS)
These teams are skipping their annual exhibition game in lieu of the regular-season matchup. The Broncos’ last meaningful visit to Levi’s Stadium turned out pretty well – a victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 16, vs. Seattle, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
It’s not a rivalry until the 49ers prove they can actually beat the Seahawks, who hold a nine-game head-to-head win streak. (It could be 10 at this point.) The Seahawks’ dominance began in the NFC Championship game in January 2014, when Sherman broke up Colin Kaepernick’s pass and Malcolm Smith got the interception. Now, both Sherman and Smith are wearing the other uniform. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Chicago, 1:05 p.m. (FOX)
These teams should know each other pretty well. It will be the fifth consecutive season in which the 49ers have played against the NFC North team. The teams have split the previous four meetings, as the 49ers evened the score last season with a 15-14 victory in Garoppolo’s first start with the 49ers. There is no threat of a snow storm or freezing rain in this locale. Prediction: W.

Sunday, Dec. 30, at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m. (FOX)
The 49ers have not lost to the Rams in Southern California since 1986. The stakes could be higher this season than we’ve seen in a long, long time as the 49ers could offer the defending NFC West champs their stiffest competition. This could be a huge game – or it could be like a year ago when the Rams rested every significant starter to get ready for the playoffs. Prediction: L.

Report: 49ers will play at Packers on Monday Night Football


Report: 49ers will play at Packers on Monday Night Football

We won't know the full 49ers 2018 schedule until 5pm, but we are starting to learn some specifics.

The 49ers will play at the Packers on Oct. 15, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

That will be in prime time on Monday Night Football.

We already know of another prime time game for the 49ers: Thursday, Nov. 1 at home against the Raiders.

San Francisco and Green Bay did not play in 2017 or 2016.

The last meeting between the franchises was on Oct. 4, 2015 -- a 17-3 Packers win at Levi's Stadium.

Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers opened the 2012 season with a 30-22 win at Lambeau Field.

The 49ers then beat the Packers 45-31 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

In 2013, the 49ers beat the Packers in the season opener, 34-28.

Four months later, San Francisco prevailed in a wild card game, 23-20.

Check back at 5pm as 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco will provide analysis and a prediction for every 2018 regular season game...