49ers

Lynch: There are things Shanahan likes about Kaepernick's game

Lynch: There are things Shanahan likes about Kaepernick's game

INDIANAPOLIS – When quarterback Colin Kaepernick met with 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan last week, the topic of the national anthem was not discussed.

“We didn’t talk about it,” Lynch said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I didn’t think that was important to the meeting we were having. We were having a meeting about, really, just getting to know each other. I felt like just being completely honest with each other. But that never got there in the conversation.”

As Kaepernick prepares to become a free agent by opting out of his contract, ESPN cited sources who said Kaepernick plans to stand for the national anthem in 2017. While protesting racial inequality in America, Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem.

Kaepernick recently hired agents Jeff Nalley and Sean Kiernan to help him find a place of employment for his seventh NFL season. Lynch said he has not ruled out the possibility of Kaepernick returning to the 49ers.

When asked why he would not just tell Kaepernick that the 49ers are moving on without him, Lynch answered, “Because we’re not there yet. We don’t have any quarterbacks.”

Kaepernick had a solid statistical season while making 11 starts for the 49ers last season. He threw 16 touchdowns and four interceptions for a passer rating of 90.7. Kaepernick also rushed for 468 yards.

“In a general sense, I can tell you, there are things that Kyle likes about his game,” Lynch said. “It would be foolish to say, ‘Hey, we’re done with this.’ So I feel real good. We told him exactly where we’re at and part of where we’re at is we’re not closing the door on that situation.

“He’s going to choose to do what he’s going to choose to do, but let’s not close the door on this. That’s the reality.”

Jeff Garcia: Jimmy Garoppolo's ill-advised decision robs him of valuable experiences

Jeff Garcia: Jimmy Garoppolo's ill-advised decision robs him of valuable experiences

Jeff Garcia faced the same situation many times over the course of his 11-year NFL career -- and, before that, five seasons in the CFL.

Through experience and knowing his own physical abilities, Garcia could determine after breaking the pocket when to slide or when to try to pick up additional yards. There certainly were times when Garcia was accused of putting his body at unnecessary risk.

But what seems clear to everyone also is obvious to Garcia: Jimmy Garoppolo should have simply stepped out of bounds Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It’s one of those things where we talk about the intelligence of the quarterback and growth and maturity at that position, and I think it’s just one of those things, where with time and experience, he’s going to learn to make better decisions in those types of situations,” Garcia said on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

Garcia, a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Fame nominee, is an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area.

On a third-and-goal from the Kansas City 20-yard line and the 49ers trailing by two touchdowns with more than five minutes to play, Garoppolo scrambled to his left, got around the corner and ran along the left sideline. Garoppolo advanced the ball inside the 10-yard line. Then, with four defensive players surrounding him, he made the regrettable decision to attempt to cut back inside for additional yardage.

Garoppolo’s left knee gave out as he tried to change direction. A split-second later, Chiefs defensive back Steven Nelson leveled Garoppolo with a high hit. Initially, some 49ers players and coaches feared Garoppolo sustained a concussion.

Instead, Garoppolo grabbed at his left knee. He will undergo surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which will require a six- to nine-month recovery period.

“As much as I want to be supportive of him as a competitor, because I know that feeling of wanting to do whatever you can for your team,” Garcia said. “You want to show your physical and mental toughness, but you also have to know your limitations. And I think in that situation, as much as trying to get 1 or 2 extra yards was probably on his mind, he has to understand that he’s not a typical running quarterback. That’s not his strength.”

The season-ending injury will have a major impact on the remainder of the 49ers’ season. But it also could have a carry-over effect for Garoppolo, who turns 27 in November and will enter his sixth NFL season in 2019.

“He’s still raw. It was only his 10th start in the National Football League,” Garcia said. “He hasn’t even completed an entire season at this point, and you just wish he would’ve had a different mindset at that point.”

Garcia said Garoppolo’s mindset should have been to get some yardage back in order to make a fourth-down play manageable. He accomplished that goal. Then, he should have gotten out of bounds to save time and avoid a hit to his head or his throwing shoulder.

Garcia said the remainder of the team will continue to develop and improve over the course of the season, but Garoppolo will miss out on the valuable experiences of going through 16 regular-season weeks of meetings and practices.

Then, there’s the valuable experiences that comes with the decision-making that is required for a quarterback through running approximately 1,000 offensive plays during the course of a season.

“The team is young and they’re going to continue to grow and evolve and mature in all the other aspects of the team,” Garcia said. “That’s what you were counting on with Jimmy, to be able to take this year, get a full season under his belt playing the position.”

Instead, it will be backup quarterback C.J. Beathard, a third-round draft pick last year, who will have the opportunity to get the bulk of the experiences this season. Beathard takes over in Week 4, beginning with the game Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“And now it’s back to square one, back to a young quarterback who was drafted last year and got some games, some starts, which is a positive thing,” Garcia said. “But he’s not the franchise guy, and that’s where so much was put into Jimmy being the guy for many years to come, and now there’s a major setback once again.”

Kyle Shanahan would've liked Jimmy Garoppolo to step out of bounds

Kyle Shanahan would've liked Jimmy Garoppolo to step out of bounds

Immediately after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered his season-ending knee injury Sunday, 49ers fans asked one question: Why didn’t the quarterback just step out of bounds on that fateful play in Kansas City?

Well, NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers insider Matt Maiocco asked Kyle Shanahan that very question during his press conference Monday. The 49ers coach’s answer was as lengthy as it was revealing.

“I think everyone’s [response] is the same after it happened. ‘Why didn’t you just get out of bounds?’ “ Shanahan said. “I think it’s a reminder to all quarterbacks and coaches. Just turn on the tape any Sunday, and you’re going to watch 15 plays by quarterbacks jumping over people, not getting out of bounds, doing a little extra to move the chains where it’s a hell of a play and everyone’s glad they did it. Then, you see some guys get out of bounds, and you’re like, ‘Yeah, that’s what you’re supposed to do.’ 

"Then, you have something like this that you’re reminded of why you do coach that and why quarterbacks should do it. But, those guys are competitive guys who want to do whatever they can to win the game. You’re not assuming just by going and staying in bounds you’re going to tear your knee up. Sometimes, you get hit a lot harder because of that, which is what I thought happened until I heard later.

“But, I think that’s something that Jimmy will probably look at differently going forward because I know he’ll remember this the rest of his life. Nothing against him. I think this happens with everyone. Like I said, you see it every Sunday.

“I think it’s just a reminder for everyone why that is the obvious coaching point and why you need to stick with that.”

Shanahan is right that Garoppolo won’t soon forget his decision. It cost him the remainder of this season, and now he’ll have to look forward to rehab and 2019.

“He’s down, just as everyone would expect,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy was real excited about this year, and we were real excited to go through it with him. Got to go through a few games, but I know he was very disappointed. I know it was hard for him last night, it was hard today, and it’ll be hard over these next few weeks.

“But, Jimmy is a tough person. He’ll bounce back from this, and he’ll be ready to go next year.”

NFL coaches likely will show their quarterbacks video of the play, hoping to avoid the same fate the 49ers now face. Shanahan, though, is confident in what Garoppolo will be when he returns next season and what C.J. Beathard can be in the interim.

“Quarterbacks can come back from knee injuries. They do it all the time,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think this will affect him going forward. Yeah, he’ll have a long recovery. He’ll have to heal. But, right when the offseason starts, I think he’ll be there. ...

“So, I’m still very excited about Jimmy and the future of him here, and I feel fortunate that we have a backup quarterback that we have a lot of confidence in.”