Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers receive high praise from NFL's top defense


Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers receive high praise from NFL's top defense

The Jacksonville Jaguars departed Levi’s Stadium on Sunday evening with their envisioned AFC South championship.

But there was no celebrating in the visiting-team's locker room.

The playoff-bound Jaguars (10-5) had already clinched the division title with the Tennessee Titans’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams in a game that concluded as the game in Santa Clara kicked off.

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers ruined the Jaguars’ planned post-game celebration – as well as their hope for securing the top seed in the AFC playoffs – with a 44-33 victory.

“It was definitely irritating to hear about him all week,” Jacksonville linebacker Myles Jack said of Garoppolo, reported the Bay Area News Group.

“He knocked out the No. 1 defense in the country. He did his thing. I guess I have to give him credit. Honestly, he deserves all the credit.”

Garoppolo completed 21 of 30 pass attempts for 242 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. The 49ers’ current four-game win streak coincides with Garoppolo’s elevation into the 49ers' starting lineup.

“I’ve just watched the games with Jimmy Garoppolo playing,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “I thought they did a great job, and I thought the defense was starting to jell. They’re doing a nice job communication-wise, and special teams is playing well. I saw a team that is really a strong football team. Obviously, they got after us. I have a lot of respect for them. They did a good job.”

Garoppolo’s 102.4 passer rating was the best against the Jaguars this season. No other quarterback has rated higher than an 87.0 against Jacksonville.

“He’s very good for their system,” Jaguars Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “They found the right quarterback to go with their system. They played a good game, they had a good game plan and they executed. That’s what it boils down to. They executed their game plan better than we did.”

Jacksonville entered the game with an NFL-leading 51 sacks. That unit managed to drop Garoppolo for just one sack, totaling minus-4 yards. The 49ers used a variety of multi-receiver sets and route combinations to dictate the matchups the 49ers wanted to exploit.

Wide receivers Marquise Goodwin, Louis Murphy, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Aldrick Robinson each played at least 25 percent of the team’s snaps.

“They did some things we hadn’t seen on tape,” Jacksonville defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. “That’s good ball. We made our adjustments, but at the end of the day we made too many mistakes and that’ll beat you every time.”

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


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.”

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


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

There is a lot of hope surrounding the 49ers entering the 2018 season.

Much of that is because of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Much of that also is because of Kyle Shanahan.

"Kyle is one of the most innovative and creative offensive minds in football," cornerback Richard Sherman said back in mid-March after he signed with the 49ers.

On the most recent episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell offered some high praise for San Francisco's head coach.

"When you look at a Kyle Shanahan offense, I think the thing that stands out the most -- that he does better than any coach in the NFL -- is the fusion between the run game and the pass game," Cosell said. "The run game and the pass game with their play-action concepts look exactly the same.

"And it's very, very difficult for defenses to differentiate the two very often until it's too late. And when you have a quarterback like Garoppolo -- who tends to be a quick decision-maker, a quick processor, he has a very quick compact delivery and then the ball gets out -- I think that just makes it even more difficult."

The 49ers won all five of Garoppolo's starts last season and put up 26, 25, 44 and 34 points in the last four games, respectively. Garoppolo was rewarded with a five-year, $137.5 million deal ($74.1 million guaranteed) -- which drastically increases the expectations.

Garoppolo and Shanahan could become one of the top head coach-quarterback duos for many years.

"When you talk to defensive coaches around the league, they will talk about Kyle Shanahan as one of the two or three of the best in the league when it comes to offensive design and game planning," Cosell added.