49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo's offseason plan has included rehab, recruiting free agents

Jimmy Garoppolo's offseason plan has included rehab, recruiting free agents

PHOENIX — Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is embracing his role as the leader of the franchise as he looks toward the start of the 2019 season.

49ers CEO Jed York spoke at the NFL owners meeting about Garoppolo like a proud parent.

He has been keeping an eye on his quarterback’s rehab and reports that he sees Garoppolo developing into a true leader. He said the two of them chat regularly.

“I’m not going over film with Jimmy,” York said, “so I don’t think we have to worry about anything from that standpoint. I see Jimmy, whether it’s in the lunch room or if I’m down in the training room or if we’re working out.”

Garoppolo has been working out with 20 to 25 teammates at the club's Santa Clara facility, York said. He is not allowed to throw passes to teammates at the team's training complex, a team spokesman said. Garoppolo has future workouts with his teammates scheduled for the Los Angeles area.

“It’s great to see that,” York said. “The team is really, really jelling and watching them come together as a unit, that’s what you need. It’s not a collection of individuals. It’s a team.”

Garoppolo’s involvement doesn't stop there, though. 

He was very active during free agency, playing the role of recruiter by calling some players the 49ers were interested in.

“I know he called the guys who we were interested in on the first day or so of free agency and expressed his interest in getting guys here,” York said. “I’m fairly certain that he called Kwon (Alexander) during that negotiating window when you can start talking to people.”

York explained that this is a new aspect of Garoppolo’s role as the face of the franchise.

“Those are things that he wants to do,” York said. “That’s where it’s different when you come in and you’ve been a backup, now being the guy. It’s hard when you’re the guy, you’re the highest-paid player, but you’re not playing for (the) team.”

Obviously, York would have preferred to have Garoppolo on the field for the entire season in 2018, but he sees the positives that came from Garoppolo's season-ending knee injury.

“I think he was able to learn a lot of the cerebral things,” York said, “and a lot of the things that come with that leadership position over the last year, which really excites me for him going forward.”

[RELATED: 49ers were aggressive in pursuing Odell Beckham Jr.]

York said Garoppolo is ahead of schedule on his path back to the football field after sustaining a torn ACL in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Garoppolo looks as if he has added some muscle to his frame while going through his daily rehab, York said.

“He’s just grinding every single day to get better personally and to get better as a team and understanding how important it is to do those things as a team leader,” York said.

49ers' Dee Ford aggravated knee injury; Nick Bosa getting healthier

49ers' Dee Ford aggravated knee injury; Nick Bosa getting healthier

SANTA CLARA — Defensive end Dee Ford miss the second half of the 49ers' 41-17 rout of the Bengals after he aggravated the knee injury that bothered him during the offseason

Coach Kyle Shanahan explained that no decision has been made about Ford’s availability for the 49ers' matchup with the Steelers on Sunday, but the team will monitor his situation throughout the week. 

“Yes, yep, the same area,” Shanahan said. “Quad, knee area. He’s still hurting today. We’ll see how he is for practice on Wednesday. I don’t have anything new to update today, but practice will definitely be in question for Wednesday.”

Ford was announced as questionable to return late in the second quarter of Sunday's game. He later spent some time on the stationary bike and then stood near the substitues with his helmet on, prepared to go back into the game if needed. With the 49ers in firm control of the game, Ford ended up not playing in the second half. 

The 49ers used each of their nine active defensive linemen on a fairly even rotation in Cincinnati. The heat and humidity were a factor in trying to keep everyone one fresh on the field.

Out of 70 total defensive snaps, here are each player’s totals

Arik Armstead -- 43
DJ Jones -- 37
Ronald Blair -- 35
DeForest Buckner -- 34
Solomon Thomas -- 33
Nick Bosa -- 31
Dee Ford -- 25
Sheldon Day -- 24
Jullian Taylor -- 21

While Ford is ailing, No. 2 overall draft pick Nick Bosa seems to be taking a positive step. After missing most of the practices in Youngstown, Ohio, Bosa’s ankle seems to be on the mend.

“He came out healthy,” Shanahan said. “Healthier than the week before. Sometimes when you come back with a high ankle sprain you always get a few setbacks in those games. I know he did versus Tampa, but he didn’t complain of any yesterday. 

“Didn’t play as much. We were playing him less on purpose and then we took out most of our starters there in the fourth quarter. I think it worked out well. He was able to affect the game and get out healthier than he did the week before.”

[RELATED: Why Shanahan is sticking with Skule]

Shanahan explained that as usual they will monitor all of their player’s health. Their practice time and game time will be planned accordingly.

The early Week 4 bye can't get here soon enough for the 49ers.

NFL rumors: Steelers acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from Dolphins

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AP

NFL rumors: Steelers acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from Dolphins

The 49ers didn't trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick, and now they get to face him. Right away.

The Steelers have acquired Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins for Pittsburgh's 2020 first-round draft pick, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday night, citing league sources. The defensive back recently demanded a trade out of Miami after the Dolphins were outscored 102-10 over the first two weeks of the season.

The reported trade comes at an especially inopportune time for San Francisco, as it most certainly ends the 49ers' pursuit of Fitzpatrick, if there even was one. But more to the point, now San Francisco will get a first-hand look at the former first-round draft pick in its very next game when the Steelers visit this weekend.

The No. 11 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Fitzpatrick was taken two picks after San Francisco selected offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 9. He has the ability to play both cornerback and safety, and that versatility would have been very useful in the 49ers' defensive backfield, had they been willing to pay the price required.

With Fitzpatrick now reportedly headed to Pittsburgh, Jacksonville's Jalen Ramsey becomes the most coveted defensive back available on the trade block, after the Jaguars cornerback similarly demanded a trade Monday. Both Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon have played well over the course of San Francisco's 2-0 start, but like Fitzpatrick, Ramsey would present an upgrade -- and also likely cost a first-round draft pick, at least.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should do whatever it takes to get Jags' Ramsey]

The 49ers previously sent away their own 2020 second-round draft pick in the trade that brought Dee Ford over from Kansas City. San Francisco has placed a high value on draft selections ever since the beginning of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch regime, but given the 49ers' fast start and suddenly steep trajectory, perhaps it's time to consider using those draft selections to acquire more established commodities.

San Francisco suddenly has a need for an offensive tackle in the wake of Joe Staley's broken fibula. Whether it's an offensive lineman or an All-Pro defensive back, the 49ers should be thinking long and hard about pursuing some players that would undeniably improve their team, both in the immediate and the long-term future.