Kyle Shanahan

Beathard's lesson from Shanahan and Garoppolo after benching

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AP

Beathard's lesson from Shanahan and Garoppolo after benching

Rookie C.J. Beathard won the job as the 49ers’ backup quarterback to Brian Hoyer to open the season. And he finished as the No. 2 behind Jimmy Garoppolo.

In between, Beathard made five starts – complete with the requisite highs and lows – while learning Kyle Shanahan’s complex offense. He believes he is a much better player after gaining that experience.

“Those were really beneficial,” Beathard said at the conclusion of the season. “There’s nothing like getting ready and getting better by getting those actual reps. I think it was a huge to get those reps in game situations against some of the best players in the world.”

Beathard, 24, completed 54.9 percent of his pass attempts with four touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer rating was 69.2. He rushed for three touchdowns and was sacked 19 times.

“It’ll help tremendously,” Beathard said of his playing time. “At the end of the day, it’s my rookie year. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better. I can’t imagine having been in this offense for two, three, four, five years and becoming a master of it, and knowing exactly what Kyle is thinking and be able to execute even better.”

Beathard took over for a struggling Hoyer in the sixth game of the season at Washington. He helped the 49ers to their first victory of the season, a 31-21 win over the New York Giants on Nov. 12.

He started three games after the 49ers acquired Garoppolo in the blockbuster trade with the New England Patriots before stepping aside. Beathard said he continued to prepare and learn even after he became Garoppolo’s backup.

“It was my rookie year, so I was learning a lot, taking it all in and soaking in every little bit of knowledge I could learn from Kyle, Jimmy, anybody," Beathard said. "Being in the NFL, you learn a lot getting those reps, valuable reps. I think I learned a lot and will continue to get better from that.”

Before the 49ers made the trade for Garoppolo it was assumed they would either make a play to acquire a veteran or invest a high draft pick to enact a long-term plan at quarterback.

Now, the 49ers have reason to head into the offseason feeling good about their quarterback situation. Beathard, whom the 49ers traded up to acquire late in the third round, said he believes he should benefit from a full offseason of work.

“Physically, there are certain things you can work on,” he said. “But it’s so engrained in your training that you’re really not going to change anybody’s mechanics at this point. But, definitely, there are some things footwork-wise that everyone can get better at and I’ll try to get better at this offseason.”

Report: Patriots owner Kraft forced Belichick to trade Garoppolo

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USATSI

Report: Patriots owner Kraft forced Belichick to trade Garoppolo

New England owner Robert Kraft demanded coach Bill Belichick trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a meeting that lasted half the day, just two weeks before the NFL trade deadline, according to an explosive behind-the-scenes report from ESPN.

Garoppolo was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. And Garoppolo and his agent, Don Yee, had repeatedly rejected Patriots offers to retain Garoppolo on a four-year contract extension worth “in the $17 million to $18 million range annually,” reported ESPN’s Seth Wickersham. The Patriots sent Garoppolo to the 49ers because Belichick believed Garoppolo would thrive under 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, according to the report.

The Patriots could not guarantee a time when Garoppolo would take over as the team’s starting quarterback. Quarterback Tom Brady, who turns 41 in August, has stated he expects to play until he’s 45 years old. He has a close relationship with Kraft.

Belichick was “furious and demoralized” that he was ordered to trade Garoppolo, according to the report, citing friends. On the morning of Oct. 30, he sent a text message to Shanahan asking him to call him back. Belichick asked for a second-round draft pick in exchange for Garoppolo.

General manager John Lynch and Shanahan have said it did not take the 49ers long to get on the same page and accept the trade. But the 49ers have been careful not to talk about the details of how the deal fell into place.

“I do want to thank the New England Patriots,” Lynch said on Oct. 31, shortly after Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara. “I think it's refreshing to find people where you cannot belabor things. You bring something up and you come to a quick resolution and you don't grind people out. That's what we were able to do. So, I want to thank them, and I have a lot of respect for that organization.

“In talking with the Patriots, one of the things, we're not going to get into a ton of details.”

Even as late as Tuesday, Lynch was evasive when asked whether her has spoken to Belichick during Garoppolo’s run of success as a starter.

“We don’t talk about that,” Lynch said with a smile. “We’re onto the offseason.”

According to the report, Belichick has taken pride in the fact Garoppolo played well and led the 49ers to a 5-0 record as the starter. And Brady was described as the winner of the whole struggle, one Patriots staffer told ESPN, because the team’s new backup, former 49ers starter Brian Hoyer, is not a threat and the owner of the team sided with Brady and his plan to play for years to come.

The report states that Brady is “famously unhelpful” to the quarterbacks behind him on the depth chart, especially those he considers a threat. Garoppolo was a threat.

Garoppolo started the first two games of the 2016 season while Brady was serving a four-game suspension for his role in the scandal to deflate footballs below NFL requirements.

In the second game, Garoppolo sustained a shoulder injury and sought treatment at TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which is run by Alex Guerrero, Brady’s trainer and business partner.

But, according to the report, when Garoppolo showed up for his appointment, the doors were locked and none of the TB12 trainers he called answered their phones. Garoppolo went to the team’s athletic trainers instead. Guerrero denied to ESPN that he ever refused to see any player. But according to the report it was two weeks later that Garoppolo was treated at TB12, and that came only after a “high-ranking” member of the Patriots called to ask why Garoppolo had not been treated.

So why did Belichick deliver Garoppolo to the 49ers? Belichick admires Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach of the Denver Broncos.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, just weeks after Shanahan played a role as the offensive coordinator in the Atlanta Falcons’ meltdown loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, he met “for hours” with Belichick to learn from the loss, according to the report.

It has previously been reported that the 49ers asked Belichick about the availability of Garoppolo in a trade as far back as during that time in February. At that point, Belichick told the 49ers that he was not interested in trading Garoppolo.

***

The Patriots issued the following statement on Friday morning. 

Future of 49ers rests in luck, preparation and result of the Patriots' past

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USATSI

Future of 49ers rests in luck, preparation and result of the Patriots' past

When the Jimmy Garoppolo story is finally told, and we clearly don’t know how it ends, we know how it will begin.
 
With palace intrigues.
 
The much-discussed Seth Wickersham piece in ESPN that explains the growing tensions within New England’s Trilateral Commission  guides us through a lot of the internecine resentments between Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and is a classic tale of men who have frankly gotten sick of each other exceeding their once clearly-drawn relationship limits. It’s an age-old story – power, intrigue, moves and countermoves, truths and deceptions, screwings and counterscrewings – you know, influential human beings being influential human beings.
 
And now we know why Garoppolo became a 49er at such a discounted price. He was a sword-and-shield set in New England, and his reward for laying low through all the fragmentation grenades was to be sent by Belichick to a place where both he and Belichick’s friends could be rewarded.
 
Now we don’t yet know how important Garoppolo will be to 49er history; the number of people already out over their skis on him would make for the largest snowball of human wreckage in alpine sports history. He could be the next Joe Montana, the next Steve Young, the next Alex Smith, or even the next Colin Kaepernick (non-political division), and only the events will provide the answer.
 
But he got here only because John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan kept up relationships with the normally aloof Belichick. After all, Belichick could have called anyone on any team, and he could have asked for much more than a lone second-round draft choice.
 
Before you start imagining that I am describing Lynch and Shanahan as merely lucky, well, I am. But luck is good, and luck comes with those who prepare to benefit from it. Luck is a great thing, and I highly recommend it to anyone.
 
But it is good to understand more fully that the future of the 49ers is in significant part the result of the past of the Patriots. Neither Kraft nor Belichick nor Brady are getting any younger, and all dynasties collapse beneath the weight of the baggage they take on.
 
For the moment then, Jimmy Garoppolo’s story is more about the cracks in the New England foundation rather than the cement in Santa Clara. The rest of it remains a matter for tomorrow.