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.”