ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — General manager John Lynch knows how important turning the corner in his third season as general manager of the 49ers is, and how much of that turnaround lies in the hands of his quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
“It’s important for us all,” Lynch said. “We’ve got high aspirations for this team and he’s obviously a big part of that. We’ve got a lot of belief that he’s going to answer the bell and we feel great about that position group in general.”
Garoppolo only had started 10 games over five seasons in the NFL before tearing his ACL in Week 3 against the Chiefs last year. Only eight of those starts were in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system. But Lynch has confidence that his quarterback has a chance to be successful because of his overall experience and the successful recovery of his left knee.
“I think what’s important, all the time, is you look at the totality of a camp and I think he’s had a really good camp, I really do,” Lynch said. “I think the best thing for all of us is that is, I get hesitant and reluctant to say it, but is his recovery from his knee has been flawless.”
Injuries have been a challenge for the 49ers over that past two seasons with 18 players ending up on injured reserve in 2018 and 21 players on the list the year prior. Running back Jerick McKinnon, who also suffered an ACL injury last season, had a minor set back during training camp. He should be ready for the early part of the season, but Lynch noted the 49ers have been very fortunate that Garoppolo has been issue free, thus far.
“I think we’re all learning the hard way that, par for the course, at some point, during a year-long rehab, you’re going to have some setbacks,” Lynch said. “He just hasn’t had those and that’s allowed him to focus on what he needs to do and that’s play.
“So that’s been tremendous and that’s been the biggest blessing and he deserves a lot of credit as does our medical staff for the way that’s gone. On the field we see progress each day and a better mastery of our system. We’re still seeing room for improvement but I think he’s been having a fine camp.”
Lynch also had a positive take on the health of defensive line additions Dee Ford and Nick Bosa. Ford has been out with tendonitis in his knee, while Bosa sprained his ankle. While Lynch would not confirm that they would be ready to play in Tampa in Week 1, he was not concerned about the time table for their return.
“As for Week 1, I don’t know, but I think we’re going to have them for the majority of the year and we just got to keep them out there,” Lynch said. “But those guys are obviously key parts of who we are and what we’re doing. It will be nice when we get them back.”
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Other injury notes: C Weston Richburg (knee) is doing more football oriented things but has not been cleared, hopefully, he will be ready by Week 1 or early in the season. OL Mike Person (foot strain) is day-to-day. G Joshua Garnett (finger) will attempt to play with a cast that will he will have put on next week. CB Jason Verrett (ankle) is hopeful to be ready for Week 1. S Jimmie Ward (collar bone) has regular check-ups on how he is healing. They likely will have him participating in practice soon, but they will be careful with him.