How Jimmy Garoppolo has become more comfortable as 49ers' starting QB

How Jimmy Garoppolo has become more comfortable as 49ers' starting QB

Jimmy Garoppolo said he feels comfortable with his surroundings during his second 49ers training camp. 

Well, it pays to know everyone's name. 

"I didn't know a couple of the receivers' names when I first got here," Garoppolo told NBC Sports' Peter King when asked about his comfort in Kyle Shanahan's offense. "[I was] trying to figure everything out. I was living in a hotel. ... Comparing then to now, it's night and day. It's not even close. Just the comfort level of being around here, knowing my teammates, knowing the staff and coaches -- it's hard to compare the two. That was a long time ago, it feels like."

The 49ers acquired Garoppolo from the New England Patriots on Halloween 2017, but he has only played in nine of the team's 24 games since that time. Garoppolo played in six games -- starting and winning five -- during his first season with the Niners, as Shanahan and his staff eased the QB into the team. His 2018 season lasted just over 11 quarters after tearing his ACL in Week 3, so Garoppolo's starting experience in the NFL is fairly limited.

Backing up Tom Brady for the first three years of your career will do that, but Garoppolo noted it has been "a while" since he played in a full season. Doing so in 2019 is at the top of his mind. 

"That competitor in you, it starts to come out," Garoppolo said. "Being back out on the field, I remember the first day of training camp I had the little-kid feeling of excitement again. It's fun to be back out here. You want to make it last as long as you can."

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Garoppolo's return to the field hasn't necessarily been perfect, considering he threw five consecutive interceptions in practice Wednesday. But these are still early days, as Garoppolo hasn't yet suited up in a preseason game. 

Joint practices with the Denver Broncos on Friday and Saturday -- as well as Monday night's preseason contest -- should provide some insight into what Garoppolo can do. But even coming back from injury, he'll start the season in a better place than he did when he first joined the 49ers. 

49ers' Richard Sherman responds to 'armchair coaches' who wanted tie

49ers' Richard Sherman responds to 'armchair coaches' who wanted tie

Over his nine-year NFL career, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman has played for two head coaches: Pete Carroll and Kyle Shanahan. He doesn't come from the school of Herm Edwards, but the two have one thing in common. 

They play to win the game. 

The 49ers had a chance to settle for a tie in overtime when they fell to the Seahawks, 27-24, on Monday. Sherman saw tweets questioning Shanahan's play-calling at the end of the game, and in a way only the three-time All-Pro know how to, he fired back on Thursday. 

"That's coming from people who don't know ball, if I'm being honest," Sherman said to reporters. "You get to the point where you've got armchair quarterbacks, armchair GMs, armchair coaches like, 'Oh man, I would have done this.' And that's why you're sitting on the couch and not in this sport as a professional.

"You've got people, who don't do this for a living, talking about what they would have done, and it's cool, I guess, for social media chatter. It's great for it there. But as people who play the game, and who put the sacrifice in, who go out there and lay their bodies out on the line, you don't play a tie."

The 49ers had the ball on their own 20-yard line with the score tied and only 1:50 remaining in OT. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw three straight incompletions, and after a Mitch Wishnowsky punt, only 25 seconds ran off the clock. 

Shanahan and his offense had an opportunity to move down the field and improve to 9-0 on the season. They failed, yet still have the best record in the NFC. 

[RELATED: Should 49ers have gone for tie late in overtime loss]

"If you have a chance to drive the ball down the field and try to win the game," Sherman continued, "then I would think everybody would want us to try to win the game. You don't want a tie."

Sherman's right, and the 49ers remain in the driver's seat with seven games to go. 

49ers' K'Waun Williams on Pro Bowl ballot after Richard Sherman's plea

49ers' K'Waun Williams on Pro Bowl ballot after Richard Sherman's plea

Ask and you shall receive. 

Richard Sherman wanted fellow 49ers defensive back K'Waun Williams added to the Pro Bowl ballot after San Francisco's nickel corner originally had been left off it.

On Thursday, the NFL obliged.

The 49ers currently have the league's best pass defense according to DVOA, and Williams has been a big reason why. While San Francisco has had to use multiple outside corners due to injury, Williams had provided a consistent, steadying force in the slot. He's totaled 22 tackles, three forced fumbles and two interceptions through 10 games, and opposing quarterbacks have been limited to a 67.6 passer rating when targeting him.

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was asked about Williams' addition to the ballot, and made it clear he thinks the recognition is deserved.

"He’s earned it," Saleh said, "he’s worked his tail off and he’s been healthy. I think people are starting to recognize how valuable he is in the slot."

Traditionally, nickelbacks have not been included on the Pro Bowl ballot, which partly explains why Williams was left off in the first place. But with the way the league is changing, Saleh thinks the NFL should reconsider how Pro Bowl rosters are constructed.

"You know, I don’t understand the whole system," Saleh added. "I think it’s archaic in terms of the nickel plays a majority of the snaps, but you still have a SAM backer and a fullback. I don’t know how the whole thing works, but I do think slot corner should get a little bit more recognition than they do. I’m pumped for him that he’s getting that."

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While Williams' inclusion on the ballot is deserved, San Francisco certainly wouldn't mind if he wasn't able to participate in the actual Pro Bowl. That, of course, is because players participating in the Super Bowl are ineligible to play in the Pro Bowl, which occurs the week prior. If the 49ers reach the final game of the 2019 season, you can be sure Williams played a big role in helping them get there.