Shanahan's plan for Garoppolo: Re-start from the beginning

Shanahan's plan for Garoppolo: Re-start from the beginning

SANTA CLARA – There was certainly nothing wrong with Jimmy Garoppolo’s nine-week stint with the 49ers to close out the regular season.

But coach Kyle Shanahan and Garoppolo are looking forward to a fresh start when the team reports back to team headquarters on April 16 for Phase I of the offseason program.

After all, Garoppolo still has a lot to learn about the 49ers’ offensive system – elements he had no chance to learn as he merely tried to keep his head above water and learn the plays included in each week’s game plan.

“I've never been here for an offseason, so everything will kind of be new for me, just like the season was,” Garoppolo said Friday during the press conference to announce a contract designed to keep him as a member of the 49ers through at least the 2022 season.

“But I think getting into Phase I, Phase II and really being able to talk through the offense to some of the finer things that I didn't get to get involved into during the season, I think it'll really help me take steps forward in learning this.”

The 49ers were 1-10 at the point Garoppolo was elevated into the starting lineup in place of rookie C.J. Beathard. Garoppolo threw for 1,542 yards in his five starts, leading the 49ers to a 5-0 record. His 8.76 yards per pass attempt ranked No. 1 in the NFL over that period of time.

Shanahan’s plan is to turn back the clock once Garoppolo reports back to work and teach Garoppolo the foundation of the offense – and all its intricacies – during the nine-week offseason program.

“It's nice to start from scratch and to go at a slower process,” Shanahan said. “He got a crash course, and he did a hell of a job picking it up. But he doesn't truly understand why and things like that. But he did a great job of getting through the week to where he had a chance to do it on Sunday, and now where the rush isn't quite the same, I think you start from the beginning, start on the first page, not the 50th page, and you get a better foundation.

“And when you have a better foundation of where you're coming from when you're learning, I think it gives you a chance to play at a higher level. You know the whys and things like that. Obviously, I think everyone knows he played very well in the games he's played for us. But I think when he goes out there, it'll give him a chance over a longer time to be more consistent and just really understand it better.”

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'


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

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.”