49ers

After Jimmy G injury, Kyle Juszczyk still the 49ers' 'third-string' QB

After Jimmy G injury, Kyle Juszczyk still the 49ers' 'third-string' QB

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers will have a different starting quarterback and a new backup on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Only the identity of the 49ers’ No. 3 quarterback will not change after Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending injury.

The team's emergency quarterback is still Kyle Juszczyk, whose day job is being the 49ers’ starting fullback.

Because the 49ers have not carried a true third quarterback for any game the past two seasons, Juszczyk is the man who remains in the emergency role.

“Last week when Jimmy got hurt, it flashed in my head a little,” Juszczyk said of the possibility of getting in a game at quarterback. “But, honestly, there’s comfort in knowing that not much is expected from me. I’m sure it would be a very basic package. I’m sure I’d be handing the ball off, mostly. And if I did throw, it would be mostly three-step sorts of things.”

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said he has never been forced to go with the emergency fill-in during his NFL coaching career. And Juszczyk, who was also Baltimore’s emergency quarterback during his first four pro seasons, has never taken a snap at the position in an NFL game.

Juszczyk played many positions in high school, including quarterback, which makes him the most-qualified candidate to step in if the team's top two quarterbacks became unavailable. He also ran some wildcat plays at Harvard, where he was a three-time All-Ivy League selection as a tight end.

Juszczyk said he sets aside some time every Friday to take snaps on the side from 49ers center Weston Richburg. Juszczyk even ran a play from quarterback for the first time this season during the team’s walk-through on Friday, he said.

The 49ers would have counted on running back Jerick McKinnon to be the emergency quarterback, based on his play at that position during his college days at Georgia Southern, Shanahan said. But McKinnon sustained a season-ending knee injury eight days before the team’s season opener, which cleared the way for Juszczyk to again fill that role. But even if McKinnon were healthy, Juszczyk was not ready to hand him the job.

“’Jet’ threw, like, one pass a game in college,” Juszczyk quipped. “People think he was a quarterback, but he really wasn’t.”

(Fact check: McKinnon completed 34 of 81 pass attempts for 829 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions during his college career.)

The 49ers appear set with C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens as the team’s top two quarterbacks. At some point, the club would like to add a quarterback to develop on the practice squad. But, regardless, Juszczyk will continue to fill the role of the No. 3 spot.

“Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that,” Juszczyk said. “But if it does, I’m going to have a great time.”

Kyle Shanahan is 'doppelganger' of Bill Belichick, Colin Cowherd says

Kyle Shanahan is 'doppelganger' of Bill Belichick, Colin Cowherd says

There are a litany of great head coaches in the NFL today, but few are both as universally beloved by colleagues and as overlooked by fans and media members as 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. The former Falcons offensive coordinator has fought an uphill battle since taking over prior to the 2017 season -- and has a 10-22 record to show for it. 

Colin Cowherd was recently discussing the NFL.com head coach rankings that were released yesterday, and he strongly disagreed with one particular selection.

"Shanahan, has a doppelganger in this league, it's called Belichick," Cowherd said. Bill Belichick is easily the most well-renowned head coach in the NFL and just came off of his sixth Super Bowl victory in February.

"Kyle Shanahan has an incredible career as a coordinator," the host of The Herd on FS1 explained. "Everywhere he's gone, He made Matt Schaub a pro bowler, he made Matt Ryan an MVP. Then he leaves, the teams aren't the same and the quarterbacks aren't the same. "

Cowherd pointed out some data on just how much better the 49ers have been with Jimmy Garoppolo on the field than when he's been off, but closed out his analysis with a strong take.

[RELATED: DeForest Buckner has big expectations for himself, 49ers in 2019 season]

"In two years, he will be a top-six coach."

With Shanahan and general manager John Lynch each having four years remaining on their contracts, 49ers fans can rest easy knowing they've got a very highly regarded head coach pacing the sidelines each week. The regular season opens Sept. 8 when San Francisco travels to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. 

49ers, Raiders picked to be among most improved teams by NFL analyst

49ers, Raiders picked to be among most improved teams by NFL analyst

The 2018 NFL season was one every Bay Area fan would like to forget. Both the 49ers and Raiders ended the season with 4-12 records, as they each secured a top-five pick in the NFL draft.

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah shared his predictions for the most improved organizations in 2019 and both the 49ers and Raiders made the cut.

The 49ers top Jeremiah's board with the promise of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo being healthy for training camp and an offseason that saw them shore up an already strong defensive line group, signing Dee Ford to a long-term deal and drafting former Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa No. 2 overall in April's draft.

The Raiders, meanwhile, sit third in Jeremiah's rankings after making some of their own splashy moves over the NFL offseason. Oakland acquired All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Steelers and also signed Vontaze Burfict, who was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro with the Bengals in 2013.

[RELATED: 49ers' Kyle Shanahan ranked as 23rd-best veteran head coach by NFL.com]

It's hard to go anywhere but up for the Bay Area's NFL teams in 2019, but if Jeremiah's picks are accurate, there could be a lot more winning football coming to Northern California in the coming months.