How Garoppolo's play, leadership have elevated 49ers


How Garoppolo's play, leadership have elevated 49ers

The 49ers knew they were getting a talented quarterback. And they believed they were acquiring a strong leader, too.

But how quickly and how well Jimmy Garoppolo has acclimated to his new team has been the most-remarkable benefit of the trade that brought him to the 49ers from the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick in late-October.

“I spoke to a lot to his coaches, and they spoke extremely high of him,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “That gives you confidence and hope, but you never know for sure. That’s what Jimmy has been very impressive with.

“I think it’s pretty obvious to see the throwing ability. But the way the guy carries himself day-in and day-out in the building, I think that’s a strength and advantage he had of being able to watch someone like Tom (Brady) and how he carried himself.”

Garoppolo was a second-round pick of the Patriots in 2014. While being careful to respect his place as Brady’s backup for 3 ½ seasons, Garoppolo absorbed as many of the positive elements of observing a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback of all time while also learning from Bill Belichick, one of the great coaches.

Said center Daniel Kilgore, “He backed up one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. I can say it was not an easy transition for him, but he was going to work and he wasn’t going to have it any other way and not be successful. “

Garoppolo quickly asserted himself as a leader on the team – without, apparently, forcing the issue. In true Patriots fashion, he did not reveal much about how he approaches his leadership role.

“I don’t know,” Garoppolo said. “I never really sat back and tried to figure out my leadership style. I think it just kind of comes naturally. I try to go out there and help the guys around me be as good as they can be and put them in a good situation to win. I think that’s ultimately what makes a good quarterback.”

Since he arrived on the scene as the quarterback, he elevated the production of everybody around him. His third play after taking over for C.J. Beathard was a touchdown pass to Louis Murphy. Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Kyle Juszczyk, Garrett Celek, George Kittle and Kendrick Bourne have also had their moments to shine during the team's three-game win streak.

“I think a big part of it is the way he conducts himself,” Juszczyk said. “We know he’s coming from a successful program, so he’s seen how things are done the right way. And the first day of practice, just looking at the guy’s footwork and the way the ball came out of his hand, it just jumped off the page for you. You could see his talent right away. Then, he carried it over to games and the way he’s making plays. It’s hard not to respect him.”

Garoppolo threw for 381 yards on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans to become the first 49ers quarterback since Jeff Garcia in 2000 to pass for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games. He has thrown for more yards (1,008) in his first three starts than any player in 49ers history.

“Actions speak louder than words,” 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner said. “Watching the way he plays and the way he approaches the game, everybody respects him for it. It doesn’t matter how long he’s been here, he’s already a leader.

“It’s great for the defense. We can just sit on the side and watch the show.”

Garoppolo helped engineer fourth-quarter drives to set up kicker Robbie Gould for game-winning field goals against the Chicago Bears and Sunday against the Titans.

“We practice those situations every week,” Goodwin said. “We were already prepared for it. We knew what we were going to do. There was no panic. He took control of the huddle, and he knew exactly what we needed to do to set ourselves up to at least get in field goal position or get a touchdown. That’s exactly what happened.”

Garoppolo got the 49ers into field-goal range with consecutive completed passes to Taylor for 7 yards, tight end Kittle for 24 yards, and Goodwin for 14 yards.

“He is very calm, collected and focused,” 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said. “Not to say that wasn’t here before, but it definitely has a different aura around him. We are really excited about him. It is fun to block for him.”

Said Taylor, “That’s the great thing about Jimmy. He’s always confident and calm and, at the same time, locked-in and intense. He’s kind of the perfect balance of that. So it’s great to have a leader like him. He’s just a natural, natural leader, and he’s going to be a great leader for us for the years to come, for sure.”

The entire aura around the organization is different than it was before the trade for Garoppolo. The locker room believed the organization was building under Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, but it was also clear that the quarterback of the future was nowhere around. Then, Garoppolo was picked up just before the trade deadline.

“It really has been incredible,” Juszczyk said. “He stopped in Day 1 and in his own way commanded respect. We all saw the way he was preparing himself and the way he went about his business. He’s been a phenomenal leader. He’s definitely already the leader of our offense and keeps everyone dialed in on the sideline and in the huddle.”

Players turn to the quarterback for leadership and guidance. Kittle played college football with a player he considers a great leader, Beathard, but he said teammates have told him those kinds of intangibles are not taken for granted in the NFL.

“Hearing from other guys in the locker room, they said they have been around quarterbacks, they don’t take that leadership role,” Kittle said. “He’s one of the most fired-up guys. He’s like Joe Staley. It’s really awesome to see that. It’s easy to follow him and you want to play well for him. That’s what football is all about.”

With two games remaining, the 49ers are confident they now have the player who will be considered the face of the franchise heading into the 2018 season.

“Truly, the quarterback is usually the CEO of the building,” Shanahan said. “And you have to act a certain way. And you got to be positive. People look to you a lot and I think he’s done a very good job with that and we’ve been very impressed in that manner.”

49ers, Chiefs injury reports: Tevin Coleman returns to limited practice

49ers, Chiefs injury reports: Tevin Coleman returns to limited practice

MIAMI -- Running back Tevin Coleman took part in limited work Wednesday, as the 49ers held their first full practice since arriving for Super Bowl LIV on Sunday evening.

Coleman sustained a dislocated right shoulder in the 49ers’ 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. The shoulder remained dislocated for approximately 25 minutes before it was forced back into place.

Coleman was listed as questionable last week, but it appears his chances of playing in the Super Bowl are improving. He did not pratice last week in Santa Clara.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander (pectoral) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) also saw limited practice on Wednesday and are expected to play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

[RELATED49ers' Tevin Coleman had shoulder out of socket for about 25 minutes]

All of the Chiefs’ injured players, including tight end Travis Kelce (knee) and defensive tackle Chris Jones (calf), were full participants in practice.

49ers practice report


LB Kwon Alexander (pectoral)
RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder)
S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)

Chiefs practice report

Full participation

DT Chris Jones (calf)
TE Travis Kelce (knee)
C Austin Reiter (wrist)
TE Deon Yelder (achilles)

Deion Sanders says 49ers never offered him new contract after 1994

Deion Sanders says 49ers never offered him new contract after 1994

Deion Sanders' one season in San Francisco was pure Prime Time. 

Pro Bowl? Check. All-Pro? Check. AP Defensive Player of the Year? Check. Super Bowl champion? Yeah, that too. 

The Hall of Fame cornerback recorded six interceptions during the 1994 season -- three returned for touchdowns -- in 14 games. He even snatched two more picks in the playoffs, leading the 49ers to a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. 

And then he was gone, signing with San Francisco's biggest rivals at the time, the Dallas Cowboys. If it was up to Sanders, however, history would have been changed. 

"I was never offered a contract (by the 49ers after the '94 season)," Sanders said Tuesday to KNBR. 

How the multi-sport athlete found out he wouldn't be coming back to the 49ers is an even crazier story. 

"I was playing outfield for the Giants and we had a day game, and after the day game I went over to eat at some restaurant," Sanders remembered. "I think preseason had started to commence. I seen a dude (on the 49ers) on TV with 21 on. Well, I guess it's over." 

No player on the 49ers' roster in the '95 season wore No. 21. This was the preseason, though, when players get cut left and right and rosters still are being completed. 

Sanders hit .268 with six homers and 24 stolen bases between the Cincinnati Reds and Giants in '95. He also won his second straight Super Bowl ring in football, this one coming as a Cowboy. 

If the 49ers would have offered Sanders a new contract, would he have made San Francisco his new home? No doubt. 

[RELATED: Why Steve Young got sick in limo after Super Bowl XXIX]

"Of course!" Sanders said. "Why wouldn't you offer me a new contract? Never did. Never made an offer." 

While Sanders is a two-time champion with a Hall of Fame bust in Canton, Ohio, the 49ers still are chasing another Super Bowl title. That could come as quickly as Sunday in Miami against the Kansas City Chiefs, though.