49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of ACL rehab schedule, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says

Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of ACL rehab schedule, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jimmy Garoppolo's rehab is right on schedule, or even ahead of it, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan reaffirmed Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The 49ers quarterback should be ready to participate in 7-on-7 drills during organized team activities in a couple of months.

Shanahan is not allowed to talk football with his quarterback, but he has been able to watch him work out on the practice field from his office window.

“I see him,” Shanahan said. “We don’t talk about football, but I see him. I see him out of my window every day. He does drops every day.

"Yeah, I know, I’m a stalker. But he’s been doing a good job.”

Shanahan didn’t want to be too specific about the details, because he didn’t want to say anything incorrect, but he was told the quarterback had a clean ACL tear, which makes Garoppolo’s recuperation less complicated. 

“Everyone says they are ahead of schedule,” Shanahan said, “and he is. I mean he’s been healing great. He hasn’t had knee trouble before. It was a clean ACL, so it’s been real good for him.” 

Garoppolo's position also makes him able to participate sooner than his fellow ACL rehabber, 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon.

“He’s also a quarterback, so when we get to OTAs, it will be 7-on-7s, so we don’t have to worry about people falling at his knees," Shanahan said. "So Jimmy will be able to practice a lot more than someone like Jet, who we have to be a little safer with, even though they might be at the same spot. 

“We don’t want people to be falling into their legs, and that’s easier to control at quarterback than running back.” 

Shanahan admits to observing his quarterback from afar but says it’s not on purpose, or scheduled. Coaching the Senior Bowl, preparing for the combine and teaching his playbook to the new members of his coaching staff has his hands full. 

“I’m always in my office watching film,” Shanahan said. “He’s right out my window, and he’s rehabbing all the time. He’s met Shane Day, our new quarterbacks coach. Jimmy will stop by and say hi, and things like that. It’s nice to have him around, but it’s been pretty busy.”

Even though Garoppolo is on, or ahead, of schedule, Shanahan and his staff still will be careful with their franchise quarterback and not take any undue risks.

[RELATED: Jimmy G commemorates anniversary of signing long-term contract]

“I expect him back at OTAs throwing just because it should be that way,” Shanahan said, “and it’s not as big of a risk because it’s 7-on-7. If that was team pass, regardless, we probably wouldn’t put him in.”

If his rehab progresses without any issues, Garoppolo’s first 11-on-11s likely will not be until training camp, just as a precautionary measure, which still is good news for the team.

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers left tackle Justin Skule, who will take over for injured six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley at the position in Sunday’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is just a rookie. But Skule already has a huge supporting cast to help him prepare. 

The 22-year-old is an unknown to most in the Niners fanbase. The rookie has quietly kept his head down since he was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the 49ers in April. Staley, who has vowed to help Skule adjust to his new responsibilities, has already made an impact on his replacement. 

“He’s been awesome since I’ve been here just taking me under his wing and giving me little tricks of the trade,” Skule said Wednesday of the veteran left tackle, who is out six to eight weeks after breaking his fibula in Week 2. “He’s done a phenomenal job just these past couple days giving me pointers just showing me how he goes through his process and everything like that. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.” 

Staley isn’t the only offensive lineman to offer Skule helpful advice. The rookie had to fill in for Staley in the 49ers' 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and Skule said Mike Person imparted some wisdom when the two shared the field at Paul Brown Stadium. 

“He’s like, ‘Take a deep breath it’s still just football,'" Skule recalled. "So, I think that’s something that I’m really going to focus on this week. It’s still the game of football. Just take a deep breath, and don’t let anything get too big for myself.” 

Skule apparently has taken that advice to heart during his first week of practice as the team's starter.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t notice the nerves that were brewing in his newly appointed left tackle. Garoppolo that Skule appeared unfazed when he first filled in for Staley and has been the same ever since. 

“He’s been very consistent,” Garoppolo said. “Smart guy, came into the huddle during the game, didn’t blink or anything. Just one of those guys, he does the right thing and he’s in the right spot. He’s been the same guy every day, and you’ve got to appreciate that.”

[RELATED: Chris Simms explains why unbeaten 49ers might be for real]

Thus far, Skule has taken it all in stride. Even with more than 20 media members surrounding him in front of his locker for the first time in his pro career, Skule seemed calm and deliberate. The rookie didn’t hesitate when answering any questions, and his replies seemed genuine. 

Still, Skule knows that even though he feels calm now, the nerves undoubtedly will come before his first start Sunday at Levi's Stadium. 

“No matter who you are replacing, you’re going to go in with some nerves,” Skule said. “Everyone has that competitive edge where you’re going to be nervous when you’re going in. The older guys and everyone in the huddle have just done a great job taking me under their wing and just making sure I’m good and relaxed and ready to go.” 

Chris Simms encouraged by 49ers' start, 'pumped' about offense, defense

Chris Simms encouraged by 49ers' start, 'pumped' about offense, defense

After two weeks, the 49ers are one of nine undefeated teams in the NFL. They've scored the most points in the NFC, and possess the second-best point differential in the league behind only the New England Patriots.

"I'm really encouraged by what I see from the San Francisco 49ers football team," NBC Sports' Chris Simms told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday.

In heaping his praise, Simms broke down the 49ers' roster, unit by unit.

"The defense is legit, and of course, we saw it improved last year," Simms remarked. "We really did. It's well-coached, and now it has more weapons than since the years the 49ers were going to the Super Bowl against the Ravens and all that.

"Where it starts is the defensive line. The defensive line is special, and it's versatile. It can be a small, fast group that can create havoc. If they want to get big and have to stop a Dallas Cowboys-like running game, they're going to be capable of doing that. 

"Linebackers are extremely athletic with Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner. The secondary -- I'm encouraged from what I've seen from Ahkello Witherspoon. We know Richard Sherman is good. The safety play has been good. So the defense is really awesome."

Not to be discounted, Simms turned his attention to San Francisco's offense, coming off a 41-point explosion against the Bengals.

"Offensively, how could I not be pumped? That offensive performance last week against Cincinnati was mind-blowing. I mean, Kyle Shanahan cracked the code. He, like, broke into the Matrix on that one. That was a true show as far as what they did to the Bengals offensively. Huge holes in the run game, wide-open people in the pass game."

Moving forward, Simms believes Shanahan's football mind will help the 49ers withstand the loss of Joe Staley to a broken fibula, starting in Week 3 against the Steelers.

"It's not going to be easy to overcome, to lose a player like Joe Staley. I mean, he's a franchise left tackle. A Hall of Fame left tackle ... But either way, I still think the 49ers will be fine without him.

"As good? No, of course not -- you never replace Joe Staley completely. But there's a phenomenal offensive line in San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan, his run schemes, the play-action, the things he does that keep defenses off-balance is as good as anybody in the sport. So, he'll find ways to protect Justin Skule ... I was very encouraged with the way he looked after I saw Joe Staley go down.

"But he'll hold his own, and then when Shanahan feels like, 'Oh, okay, I don't necessarily like this matchup for my left tackle,' he'll find ways to help him out a little bit, too."

[RELATED: Jimmy G, Shanahan excited to play in front of 49ers crowd]

While Simms is encouraged by the 49ers' strong start to the season, there's still one issue holding him back from being all the way in on San Francisco.

"If I have one question about the 49ers right now -- I'm not totally in the trust tree with Jimmy Garoppolo. I don't think he's playing to his capabilities yet

"But the encouraging thing is, he's getting better and you're 2-0. So when that all meshes together, I say watch out for the San Francisco 49ers."

Time to take the red pill. The 49ers just might be for real.