49ers

Jeff Garcia pinpoints Jimmy Garoppolo's elite skills

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AP

Jeff Garcia pinpoints Jimmy Garoppolo's elite skills

Among quarterbacks who have dropped back more than once this season, Jimmy Garoppolo ranks first in the NFL with a 9.0-yard-average per pass attempt.

The 49ers (3-10) have won both of Garoppolo’s starts, and his 627 yards passing in those two games are the most for a player in franchise history in his first two starts.

The 49ers’ last Pro Bowl quarterback, Jeff Garcia, discussed the elite skills he has witnessed from Garoppolo in his short time in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

“First of all, he has eliminated mistakes,” Garcia said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “You see the way the offense has been able to put drives together to get into the red zone. Now, they haven’t all led to touchdowns, but he’s been a great decision-maker.”

The 49ers settled for five field goals in a 15-14 victory over the Chicago Bears. On Sunday, the 49ers scored on five consecutive possessions spanning the second and third quarters in a 26-16 win over the Houston Texans.

“He’s been very accurate with his throws,” Garcia said. “You see when he completes balls, the receivers are in a position to continue running for yards after the catch. The balls aren’t thrown behind. They’re not low. The receivers don’t have to leave their feet for many of the throws. That is key to turning what could end up being fourth downs into first downs.”

Garoppolo has completed 48 of 72 pass attempts (66.7 percent) with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is 92.7. 

“His timing -- he’s getting the ball out on time,” Garcia said. “Even when he has a free rusher coming off the edge, which happened a couple of times with (Jadeveon) Clowney, he’s able to step in there and throw an accurate ball and make a play. Those things hadn’t been done prior to his existence on the team.”

Greg Cosell singles out 49ers player he believes is poised for a breakout season

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AP

Greg Cosell singles out 49ers player he believes is poised for a breakout season

With the 146th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected...

George Kittle.

The tight end from Iowa had a solid rookie season -- racking up 43 catches for 515 yards and two touchdowns.

On the latest episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, Greg Cosell of NFL Films was talking about Kyle Shanahan and Rams head coach Sean McVay. And then unsolicited, pivoted the conversation to Kittle.

"You know, I think one player we should mention who I really liked coming out of college -- and I know he fought some injuries last year but I think that he has a chance to be a really meaningul part of this offense -- and that's George Kittle," Cosell said. "I think George Kittle is a really good tight end who can do a lot of things.

"He can line up and be a really good blocking tight end -- and obviously we know that Kyle's offense does start with the run game. I think he's more athletic than people probably give him credit for.

"I remember studying him coming out of Iowa and looking at some of his Combine measureables -- some were superior to those of OJ Howard from Alabama, and I think people would be surprised by that.

"In this offense he might not catch 80 balls, but he might average 14-15 yards a catch, and for a tight end that's pretty darn good."

Kittle had his best game in the season finale -- four catches for 100 yards at the Rams.

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

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USATSI

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

Greg Cosell, a senior producer at NFL Films, believes 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo “has a chance to be a top-level quarterback.” But there remains room for improvement from the player the 49ers awarded a franchise-record contract in the offseason.

Garoppolo has a quick release and can throw at a number of different arm angles to avoid oncoming pass-rushers. And while his accuracy underneath was unquestioned during his 5-0 run as the 49ers’ starter last season, most of the time, his deep throws did not reach the target.

Garoppolo completed just 4 of 16 attempts to targets 20 yards or more down the field last season for 134 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL']

During the offseason program, Garoppolo appeared to struggle on his deep throws, too. Cosell, a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, spoke about Garoppolo’s mechanics.

“Because he has very quick feet, I think people just assume he has great feet all the time when he delivers the ball,” Cosell said. “There’s a difference between having quick, athletic feet and having really good quarterback feet. And I think he needs to work on the quarterback feet part.

“I think guys who have that kind of snap delivery, sometimes they don’t step exactly to their throw and they throw a little bit off-balance, and that could really impact your accuracy to a significant degree. So my guess is those are the kinds of things they’ve worked on. Those are tweaks. I don’t think it will prevent him from being a really good player.”

Garoppolo appeared in six games with five starts last season after the 49ers acquired him for a second-round draft pick in a trade with the New England Patriots. Garoppolo completed 120 of 178 pass attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,580 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.

Cosell said it is important for all quarterbacks to use consistent mechanics when making throws from a clean pocket.

“Think of a major league pitcher,” Cosell said. “They theoretically should throw the ball the same way every time. So should a quarterback unless the defense dictates otherwise. If the defense doesn’t dictate otherwise, the throws should look the same.”