Jeff Garcia

Garcia: Best for 49ers to stick with Beathard over Garoppolo for now


Garcia: Best for 49ers to stick with Beathard over Garoppolo for now

A large portion of the 49ers’ fan base might be eager to see Jimmy Garoppolo take the field as the team’s starting quarterback. But four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia believes it is best to stick with C.J. Beathard, for now.

“Because I know how important the mental side of the quarterback position is, I want to make sure Jimmy is fully comfortable and ready to grasp that,” Garcia said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“Right now, after this past game, I want to see C.J. respond with another game and start to show some consistency. This will be a great challenge against a West division rival in the Seattle Seahawks.”

Beathard has started four games since taking over for veteran Brian Hoyer. Garoppolo was acquired three weeks ago in a trade with the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick.

Garoppolo spent his first two games with the 49ers as the team’s backup quarterback. The 49ers return to action Sunday against the Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

“They know what they like in Jimmy Garoppolo,” said Garcia, now an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area. “They’re able to see him every single day in practice, and they know what he brings to the table, as far as how he learns, how he mentally adapts, adjusts and grows within the system. It gives him more time to get confident.

“It’s not an easy system to pick up, especially when you haven’t had anything that really relates to that system in your recent past. Going from New England to San Francisco is like learning an entirely new language.”

Garcia: Garoppolo trade allows 49ers to 'focus elsewhere'


Garcia: Garoppolo trade allows 49ers to 'focus elsewhere'

Rather than go into a reactionary posture with Washington holding the first offseason move with Kirk Cousins, the 49ers were proactive and committed to their future with Jimmy Garoppolo.

The 49ers dealt one of their two second-round draft picks to the New England Patriots to acquire Garoppolo, a fourth-year player with just two NFL starts.

“I like the decision,” former 49ers Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“I like that they get a young quarterback who’s been in an organization that has brought him along and taught him how to approach the game. There’s definitely ability there. It just hasn’t been seen enough.”

Garoppolo, who turns 26 on Thursday, started the first two games of 2016 while Tom Brady served a suspension. Garoppolo sustained a shoulder injury to prevent him from starting all four games during Brady’s absence.

Garcia said the decision to acquire Garoppolo will not cost the 49ers as much cap room as it would have taken to potentially sign Cousins as a free agent. Also, the 49ers still own their first-round pick and a second-round selection acquired from the New Orleans Saints.

The 49ers enter the second half of the season as one of just two winless teams in the NFL. General manager John Lynch might be able to parlay the club’s first-round pick into a trade-back with a quarterback-needy team to acquire more first- and second-day draft selections.

“Now, the 49ers don’t have to go after a quarterback with the No. 1 pick,” Garcia said. “They can accumulate a handful of picks and build the talent base with some solid offensive linemen, some wide receivers, some defensive backs – wherever they have some needs on the team.

“This allows the 49ers to put their focus elsewhere.”

The 49ers appear fully committed to Garoppolo for the future, but Garcia said it is not necessary for the team to immediately sign him to a lucrative contract extension. Garoppolo’s contract expires at the end of the season. If the sides are unable to reach a multi-year deal, the 49ers have the option of retaining him on a one-year deal under the franchise tag.

The 49ers’ decision to act now could be an indication the organization was not convinced it could land a franchise quarterback in the draft.

“Whether it was the current draft class scaring them a bit or the realization they can get somebody who’s more qualified that a college player and who has potentially a brighter upside than any of these college kids and not have to give up a first-round pick, now they can create an opportunity to build elsewhere,” Garcia said.

Veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer played his way out of the 49ers starting lineup – and off the roster -- after making six starts. Rookie C.J. Beathard took over and will be stepping aside whenever Garoppolo is deemed ready to take over.

“No matter what, they were going to look to upgrade the position,” Garcia said. “Not taking anything away from C.J.  He’s scrappy, a fighter and a battler. But he’s still young and he’s growing, and he’s going through the process of playing for a team that’s just not very good right now.”

Garcia said there is no rush to get Garoppolo on the field because this is a move that is being made for next year and many seasons ahead.

The 49ers (0-8) play Arizona and the New York Giants the next two weeks before the bye week. Left tackle Joe Staley, who sustained an orbital fracture of his right eye, could return to action when the 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 26 at Levi’s Stadium.

“They’re not all of a sudden becoming a playoff team overnight, so why rush your potential franchise quarterback into a bad situation when he’s not mentally prepared to just react and know the game and to not have your best left tackle on the field with you?” Garcia said. “There’s no reason to rush the situation.”

Jeff Garcia was frustrated by Brian Hoyer: 'I kept waiting...'


Jeff Garcia was frustrated by Brian Hoyer: 'I kept waiting...'

Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia liked what he saw from rookie C.J. Beathard, who replaced benched starter Brian Hoyer on Sunday.

“It looks like he has that physical and mental toughness,” said Garcia, now an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area on the latest 49ers Insider Podcast.

“That’s the thing you like to see out of a quarterback, to be a leader, to demonstrate what it’s all about and get everybody on board following him, and to play hungry, to play intense, to demand perfection out of yourself, to want to make every play.”

With Beathard taking over at quarterback, the 49ers rallied from a 17-point deficit to tie the game in the third quarter. He also bought time with his legs to escape the pocket and throw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson in the closing minutes to give the 49ers an opportunity for a last-second win.

However, the 49ers lost their fifth consecutive game by three points or less with a 26-24 loss at Washington.

Beathard played with a sense of purpose and urgency Garcia said he did not see from Hoyer, who is playing for his seventh team in nine NFL seasons.

“I kept waiting for Brian to be that guy and he just wasn’t,” Garcia said. “That’s what frustrated me about Brian. Here he had a great opportunity to come in and be a starter and secure a position and take hold of a position for, really, the first time in his career.

“In retrospect, maybe he just is who he is, and that’s why he’s played for so many teams, and that’s why he’s never been considered a full-time starter or 'the guy' in the National Football League.”

Garcia added, “He left a door open, a window open, for another guy to step in and take advantage of it, and that’s what C.J. did. He was very opportunistic on Sunday in stepping onto the field and immediately having an impact.”