49ers

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo rebounds from five-straight-interception day

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo rebounds from five-straight-interception day

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The first practice after 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw five interceptions in a row, he and the offense bounced back with a better day, but there’s still room for improvement. 

Garoppolo, who is normally even-tempered, reported that he was pretty upset with his performance after the 'five-pick' practice. He has since had time to look at the positives of learning from those turnovers. 

“You guys are seeing me a couple days removed,” Garoppolo said. “That day I was pretty ticked off but the defense got the best of me that day. We’ve battled back and forth. It’s been good for us, it’s been good for them. It’s only going to lead to a better football team.”

In his explanation, Garoppolo even paid an ode to Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s more famous quotes. 

“It was just five bad decisions,” Garoppolo said. “The defense got me, like I said, so there are going to be days like that, but you can’t dwell on those things. We’re past that and on to Denver now.” 

Coach Robert Saleh was pleased with the performance of the secondary. He hopes it indicates improvement from their record-setting low amount of takeaways in 2018. He also spoke about the need to keep the focus on takeaways as they have left a few on the field. 

“We’re obviously trying to set records the other way,” Saleh said. “And Jimmy, I’m sure he’d want a couple of throws back. It was a good day. And for Jimmy, I know he got a lot of flack for it, but not all of them were his fault, believe it or not.

"But I’m pumped up anytime we get the ball. We got the ball a couple times here, we dropped a couple. We got to continue to preach on getting the ball whether it’s our offense another team’s offense it doesn’t matter, we just got to keep doing it." 

Saleh added that Garoppolo has been predominantly accurate throughout training camp, rarely causing a turnover. 

“Jimmy went all camp with only two interceptions,” Saleh said. “I think it’s ok to excuse him for one bad day. He’s going to be special, so no one is skipping a beat in our building.” 

At the first day of joint practices with the Broncos, Garoppolo completed 10 of his 15 attempts, with one interception in 11-on-11 team drills. He completed all three of his attempts in 7-on-7 work. 

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Garoppolo reported that his teammates did not miss the opportunity to give him a hard time about his errant passes, but he knew it was coming. 

“Hell, yeah,” Garoppolo said. "I would do the same if I threw five TDs on them. It goes back and forth and I love that. If they weren’t giving me crap about it, I’d be a little concerned.” 

Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle Shanahan look forward to first 49ers home crowd

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USATSI

Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle Shanahan look forward to first 49ers home crowd

SANTA CLARA — The crowd that comes to Levi’s Stadium on football game days has not been known for offering the 49ers a significant home-field advantage but both Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo believe that will not be the case in the team’s home opener on Sunday. 

Much has been made of the lightly populated sunny side of the stadium on Sundays in Santa Clara since the 49ers made the move from Candlestick Park. The subject of the relocation alone often raises the blood pressure of the venerable fans who spent time in those orange baseball stadium seats in South San Francisco. 

No one would dare compare the game-day atmosphere of Levi’s with Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, or Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, which are known for being the loudest of the outdoor venues. At least not yet. 

Shanahan understands why the fan base could be considered lackadaisical, but he believes it’s because of the product on the field. He has seen what a good game can do to work fans up into a lather. 

“I don’t think we’ve given our fans a lot to be excited about in the two years I’ve been here at home,” Shanahan said. “Or the few years prior, but when we have, I think the stadium has been loud.” 

After seeing a significant 49ers fan presence in both Tampa and Cincinnati, Garoppolo also has high expectations for the team’s first home game. 

“I think that our home crowd is awesome,” Garoppolo said. “These last two games in Tampa and Cincinnati especially, it turned into a home game with all the red out there. It was fun. I expect a great atmosphere and hope the crowd is rocking.” 

The 49er Faithful have traveled well in the first two weeks but so do Steelers fans. Shanahan recalled one game, in particular, facing Pittsburgh where their fans took away the home-field advantage. 

“Pittsburgh always travels well wherever I’ve been,” Shanahan said. “When I was in Atlanta when we were on our way to the Super Bowl, we still had to use a silent cadence at home even when we were, I think, 11-4 at the time.” 

Even with that past experience, Shanahan predicts a heavily weighted home fan presence facing the Steelers. 

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“I’m expecting it to be a strong 49ers crowd,” Shanahan said. “I always revert back to, I think it was the Christmas Eve game versus Jacksonville. I mean, we were out of it and I thought our fans were as loud as any stadium I’ve been at. I felt it last year versus Oakland. I felt it versus Seattle last year.

“I think our fans come ready, and if we come ready, I think we’ll be very happy about our home-field advantage.”

49ers' Jason Verrett taking it 'day by day' waiting to make season debut

49ers' Jason Verrett taking it 'day by day' waiting to make season debut

SANTA CLARA -- When 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett has been healthy, he has been a Pro Bowl-caliber NFL cornerback.

After missing the preseason with an ankle injury, Verrett was listed as questionable on the 49ers’ injury report for Week 1. He did not appear on the injury report leading up to Week 2.

Yet, Verrett is still waiting to make his debut with the 49ers, with whom he signed a one-year contract in the offseason. He was declared one of the team’s seven inactive players for both of the 49ers' first two games. The decisions on which players are inactive are announced 90 minutes before kickoff.

“Yeah, it’s very difficult when it’s like that,” said Verrett, 28, a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2014. “But at the same time, I’m a pro. I take it for what it is, and control what I can control and just try to move forward with it.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers did not seriously consider playing him in the first two games as he was returning from the ankle injury.

“I know he really wanted to get out there last week, but we tried to play it smart with him,” Shanahan said. “He has a better chance to get out there this week. That’s something we will discuss. It doesn’t all have to do with him. It’ll have to do with the rest of the roster and how we plan on attacking these guys.”

The 49ers play their regular-season home opener on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Levi's Stadium.

Verrett sustained a torn Achilles on the first day of camp last summer with the Chargers and missed the entire 2018 season. A variety of injuries have limited Verrett to just 25 games in six seasons. In 2014, Verrett appeared in a career-high 14 games, and he earned a spot in the Pro Bowl.

This is something new for Verrett to be healthy and not suiting up for games.

“It’s definitely an adjustment for me, not being on the field,” he said. “I’m just taking it by day by day.”

Ahkello Witherspoon has strengthened his hold on the job as the 49ers’ starting right cornerback with veteran Richard Sherman on the left side. Witherspoon and Sherman had interception returns for touchdowns in the 49ers' opener at Tampa Bay.

Verrett has not played any nickel back with the 49ers, but he said he's capable of covering the slot receiver because of his familiarity with the defense.

“I think everything is going to play out how it’s supposed to be,” Verrett said. "I just got to continue taking care of my body and doing what I need to do in practice.

“I feel with how the defense is playing -- they’re playing well -- I feel it’s going to be a time where I’m going to find my way onto the field. I just got to control what I can control ... If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. All I can do is stay prepared week-in and week-out, and when my number is called, be ready to play.”

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The 49ers have entered the first two games of the season with Emmanuel Moseley and D.J. Reed as the backup cornerbacks – due mostly to their contributions on special teams.

Verrett said he is trying to remain focused on putting himself in a position to play his best football when his time comes to step on the field.

When asked if he would consider asking for a trade if he continues to be inactive for games, Verrett told NBC Sports Bay Area, “We’ll see what happens.”