Joe Montana defends 'dangerous' Jimmy Garoppolo against criticism

Joe Montana defends 'dangerous' Jimmy Garoppolo against criticism

Jimmy Garoppolo has been taking incoming fire all season.

Hailed as the 49ers' weak link from Day 1, Garoppolo has been talked about like the next version of Trent Dilfer, riding a dominant defense to glory. Even after Garoppolo made clutch plays to beat the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, the doubters kept coming. 

After only throwing the ball eight times in the 49ers' NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers, the detractors are getting louder again, but don't count 49ers legend Joe Montana among them. 

"He's doing exactly what he needs to do," Montana said Friday on KNBR's "Murph and Mac" show. "And at some point and time, they're going to have to lean on him, like they did in the games that you mentioned (wins over Saints and Seahawks), and he's come through in that part, so I'm not concerned about it.

"I remember, there'd be a stretch sometimes where if I went two or three games without throwing a touchdown pass, I'm going, 'What do you want me to do? Tell Roger (Craig) to fall down on the one?

"It's about winning and losing in that league, and it's hard to win," Montana continued. "Sometimes it takes a running game, sometimes you have to lean on the passing game, and, almost always, you have to lean on your defense. The 49ers are lucky because they've got a pretty dang good one."

The 49ers gashed the Packers and Minnesota Vikings in the running game, so there was no need for Jimmy G to air it out.

But if the 49ers need QB1 to make plays in Super Bowl 54 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Montana knows Garoppolo can do what is necessary. 

"Here's my scariest thought: Do you make him [stay] in the pocket, or do you try to put pressure and get him out of there? He's dangerous both places, so it's kind of scary."

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With reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes on the opposite side in Miami, chances are Garoppolo will be called on to make plays if the 49ers are to win their sixth Lombardi Trophy. 

Then again, if the 49ers' defense dominates the way it has all season, Garoppolo might not be asked to do much.

Hey, they still gave Dilfer a ring. 

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).

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

President Donald Trump reportedly told sports commissioners and top executives Saturday that he believes the NFL should start on time with fans returning to stadiums by August despite the coronavirus outbreak.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn't share the same thoughts.

The governor was asked about Trump's reported prediction, and said he doesn't envision California having made enough progress against the virus for it to be business as usual for the NFL come fall.

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday. “We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia, where they opening up certain businesses, and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting seeing some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise.

"It's interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and the NFL, they've been asking me -- in fact, a well-known athlete -- a football player -- just asked me if he expects to come back. I said, 'I would move very cautiously in that expectation.' "

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Newsom is making sure to prioritize safety and caution above all else before letting sports return.

“Our decision on that basis here in the State of California will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our ability to meet this moment and bend the curve, and have the appropriate community surveillance and testing to confidently determine whether that's appropriate," Newsom said. "Right now, I’m just focusing on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”

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The truth of the matter is that no one knows how long this will last or when sports will be able to return to packed stadiums. The NFL is planning on starting the schedule on time with fans in the stadium, but that might not be the case in California. With many epidemiologists expecting the virus to surge again the fall, the fate of the NFL's season is very much up in the air.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, told Warriors star Steph Curry that sports can only safely return once the country as a whole has turned the corner from the outbreak and the medical system no longer is under strain.

As of Saturday, there were more than 270,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and NBC News reporting.

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

While the NFL offseason programs are postponed, many players are still working out to be ready for the time when the teams are able to get back to work in an organized setting.

In Miami, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Clelin Ferrell are working out with private defensive line coach Mark Hall.

Hall, who recently was a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, sent a video to NBC Sports Bay Area of the three players working out.

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The 49ers recently traded Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and re-signed Armstead to a four-year, $84 million contract. Ferrell will enter his second season with the Las Vegas Raiders after being the club’s first-round selection at No. 4 overall in the 2019 draft.