49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo on pace to regain starting QB role in 49ers' offseason program

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USATSI

Jimmy Garoppolo on pace to regain starting QB role in 49ers' offseason program

Despite greatly exceeding expectations over the final eight games of the season, quarterback Nick Mullens now goes back to a spot down on the 49ers’ depth chart.

That’s because Jimmy Garoppolo, whose 2018 season ended with a torn ACL in his left knee in Week 3, will be the team’s starter when the 2019 campaign opens in the fall.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has never debated that point. The competition involving Mullens and C.J. Beathard will be for the backup role behind Garoppolo.

Late in the season, Garoppolo was on a schedule that focused on his rehabilitation, along with extensive hours of film study.

“The rehab has been the biggest part,” Shanahan said. “He comes to all the meetings. This last month, we’ve really upped his film work. He has about two hours' session in the morning, when we just watch film with him. He has a three-hour session in the afternoon.

“He’s been watching a bunch of old cutups, where he can go back to whatever the concept is, and he can watch the people we did it with, from Houston to Washington to Cleveland to Atlanta.”

[RELATED: Mullen details Kittle's record-setting sequence]

The 49ers expect Garoppolo to be ready to hit the practice field in May and early June during organized team activities. Then he should be ready for a full training camp, beginning in late July, as long as there are no setbacks along the way.

"So he’s getting more film study and things like that than probably he would like,” Shanahan said. “He would like to get out in the sun and throw the ball around more, but he’s got to be a little more patient with that as his knee recovers."

How 49ers' unique locker room culture starts at top with Kyle Shanahan

How 49ers' unique locker room culture starts at top with Kyle Shanahan

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers have something special brewing in their locker room, but it really starts at the top with the way coach Kyle Shanahan holds himself accountable. 

When watching 49ers games, you won’t see frustrated players yelling at each other, or throwing helmets on the sidelines after coming off the field following a bad play or drive. The coaches don't chew their players out in front of the crowd and television cameras, either.

Instead, players and coaches alike show plenty of positivity on the 49ers' sideline, pumping each other up after both huge plays and mistakes. 

It’s not that there isn’t tough love, because there is plenty. Just ask wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. Fellow wideout Deebo Samuel noted players are harder on themselves than a coach would ever be, and that's because Shanahan is so hard on himself. 

Shanahan can vividly recall the calls he wanted back from the Atlanta Falcons' Super Bowl LI loss to the New England Patriots. The missteps ate at him in the aftermath of that defeat, and he sees the same mentality from his players. 

“Yeah, I mean you’ve got to diffuse guys,” Shanahan said Monday. “Everyone’s sensitive and everyone’s trying to do their best, but also everyone makes mistakes. I don’t care who you are. Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Hall of Fame coaches, it doesn’t matter. No one has gone perfect in this league, and everyone’s going to make huge mistakes in front of a lot of people.”

The 49ers are one of two teams left standing, and the audience will only get bigger for Super Bowl LIV. The scrutiny has become even more intense, but Shanahan said managing it is all part of the process.  

“That’s what sports is about,” Shanahan said. “I think athletes go through that. Athletes have a great life. They work hard, they get paid very well and they get to play in a cool game, but they’re also going to get judged by everybody in what they do and that’s just part of it.” 

[RELATED: Watch how 49ers have unleashed Deebo with this run play]

Shanahan sets a very high standard for himself and his players alike. He won't hold back from criticism in film sessions, especially if a player misses a block. But, he'll also praise players whose efforts contribute to an explosive play. Those methods have helped offensive stars like Emmanuel Sanders embrace blocking in the running game. 

“You’ve got to have thick skin,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got to mind not being judged because you’re out here, you’re good at what you do and you’re going to have times that are bad. The more you can call yourself out, the more you can call each other out, the more people take their sensitivity away and say ‘Alright, he’s right we all mess up sometimes let’s just sit in here and work on getting better.’”

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

49ers' Jed York willing to extend Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch contracts

49ers' Jed York willing to extend Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch contracts

The 49ers are headed to their first Super Bowl in seven years, with a chance to win the organization's sixth title in the third year of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch era. 

Shanahan and Lynch each signed six-year contracts when the 49ers hired the coach and general manager, respectively, in 2017. In the aftermath of Sunday's NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers, 49ers CEO Jed York told the Bay Area News Group's Cam Inman that he's open to extending Shanahan and Lynch's contracts

“I want those guys here for a long time,” York told Inman. “If they want to do something, I’d be happy to do it.”

The 49ers started 0-9 in Shanahan and Lynch's first season atop the organization, but San Francisco won the last six games of the season after trading for then-New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to finish 6-10. Garoppolo's torn ACL set the 49ers back in a 4-12 campaign in 2018, but the team reloaded in a major way over the ensuing offseason.

Drafting edge rusher Nick Bosa, trading for edge rusher Dee Ford and signing linebacker Kwon Alexander supplemented the strong building blocks on defense, and the 49ers' three-headed monster of Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida in the backfield gave San Francisco one of the NFL's most prolific rushing attacks. The combination resulted in a 13-3 regular season, the 49ers' best since 2011, and the NFC's top seed. 

[RELATED: Thomas identifies 'love' as key to 49ers' Super Bowl berth]

Now, the 49ers are one win away from their first Super Bowl win in a quarter-century, with the high-octane Kansas City Chiefs and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes standing in their way. York credited the culture Shanahan and Lynch have built in three seasons in Santa Clara.

“Those guys do have each other’s back,” York told Inman. “Not that it’s been perfect. Not that we’ve made every single right decision. But when the culture is right, when you have each other’s back, it gives you a chance. You need some level of talent, which we have on this team, but if you don’t have the culture, you have no chance.”

The 49ers haven't had much harmony among all three of ownership, management and coaching since their glory days -- and not even during all of that period -- but it's clear York thinks they have it right now. 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).