Shanahan denies report that 49ers doubted Jimmy G's prep

Kyle Shanahan, JImmy Garoppolo

With the release of Seth Wickersham's book on the New England Patriots dynasty, "It's Better To Be Feared," it's no surprise that the 49ers are caught in the reporting crossfire.

It started Thursday when excerpts of the book began making the rounds on the internet. Of course, there was the expected portion about Tom Brady wanted to finish his career with the 49ers, which has been discussed ad nauseam since the legendary quarterback left the Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While discussing the possibility of Brady joining the 49ers, Wickersham reported that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and San Francisco's staff had real doubts about quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's game preparation even before the 49ers' Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

"The 49ers' coaching staff had quiet doubts about Garoppolo, even before the Super Bowl, feeling that it took an inordinate amount of energy to get his head ready for game day and that he perhaps lacked Brady's extreme drive for excellence," Wickersham wrote, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. "Some in the building felt that Shanahan was too hard on Garoppolo, causing him to play tentatively. The coaches liked Garoppolo personally — so did his teammates, enough to elect him captain — but Shanahan was open to the idea of an upgrade."

On Friday, Shanahan denied the report during his weekly interview on KNBR.


"No, it's not accurate," Shanahan told KNBR's "Murph and Mac." "I don't know which coaches, or who they're talking to, but lots of people have opinions. That's not our opinion.

"I talked about that a ton last year. Of course, we looked into Brady. There were lots of conversations but to hear that stuff in a book through other people two years later, it's not worth me getting into much more than I did right there."

RELATED: Brady's Super Bowl win reminds 49ers how close glory was

Brady, Garoppolo, the 49ers and Patriots have been linked ever since Bill Belichick traded Garoppolo to the 49ers midway through the 2017 season. Reports surfaced soon after that 49ers general manager John Lynch initially called to try and trade for Brady. Lynch has said he jokingly asked if Brady was available, but the trade call was about Garoppolo.

Brady's reported desire to finish his career in San Francisco and the 49ers' decision to pass on the legendary quarterback were a hot topic during the 2020 season as Garoppolo played in just six games due to high ankle sprains while Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title.

The 49ers and Patriots will continue to be connected long after Brady has retired and Garoppolo has left town. After the 49ers traded up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, it was believed Shanahan had his eyes on Alabama quarterback Mac Jones as his desired franchise quarterback. But Shanahan drafted Trey Lance, and Jones fell to No. 15, where Belichick and the Patriots snapped him.

With Lance in the fold, Brady's name came up quite a bit during 49ers training camp as Garoppolo talked about learning from Brady and how he planned to use that experience to help Lance.

Of course, Brady's real lesson to Garoppolo, who was drafted to take the reins from Brady in 2014, is how to stay on top and keep your successor holding a clipboard.

Through three games, Lance has only taken seven snaps and Shanahan reaffirmed Wednesday that Garoppolo was the 49ers' unquestioned starter.

As for Shanahan and Garoppolo's relationship, the 49ers head coach doesn't think the Wickersham report needs addressing with his QB1.

 "Not at all," Shanahan told KNBR. "Jimmy and I are much closer than that. We've been through that. ... Jimmy's been around this league long enough. He knows me as a person, and I know him very well. We really don't let stuff come between that."

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