So many possibilities for how 49ers plan to use Juszczyk

So many possibilities for how 49ers plan to use Juszczyk

Quarterback Brian Hoyer already has one luxury he never enjoyed during his one season together with Kyle Shanahan with the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

The 49ers made Kyle Juszczyk the highest-paid fullback in the NFL last week. Truth be told, there is not a lot of competition for that honor. And there were certainly no candidates in Cleveland when Hoyer was there and Shanahan was the offensive coordinator.

“We didn’t have a fullback in Cleveland, and you watch how well Kyle (Shanahan) did with a fullback in Atlanta (with Patrick DiMarco),” Hoyer said. “To have a guy who can do more than just ram his head up in there and block, he can catch passes, he can go out and do other things.

“It’s a unique position because as football has evolved, the fullback position has been used less. And Kyle has found a way to use it in different ways. When you have a guy who has that skill set, you really make the defense declare what they want to do because of where he’s lined up and what he’s capable of doing.”

Juszczyk, who signed a reported four-year, $21 million free-agent contract, is a versatile player who wears a lot more hats than the stereotypical fullback. Juszczyk (pronounced YOOZ-check) thrives as pass-catcher with 78 receptions for 587 yards and four touchdowns in the past two seasons. He was selected to the Pro Bowl last season in his final season with the Baltimore Ravens.

“I forget who coined it, but we said, ‘Let’s not think of him as a fullback. He’s an OW.’ So, if you see OW, that stands for ‘offensive weapon,’ ” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “We saw an offensive weapon that this guy is thrilled to be able to use in a number of different capacities and I think that kind of is symbolic of our approach.”

Juszczyk said he will be ready to be deployed in a number of different positions and roles in the 49ers’ offense. The strengths and weaknesses of the 49ers’ opponents will usually determine how he will be featured on a week-to-week basis.

“My whole career, I’ve always been versatile and able to line up in many different positions,” said Juszczyk, who was an economics major at Harvard. “So I’m very comfortable, not just lining up behind the quarterback in the backfield, but I’m split out wide. I’ve caught passes in the slot. I’ve been a third-down protection back. I pride myself on doing it all.

“Each game plan is going to bring something different. Honestly, that’s what I’m used to. The last three years has been basically been that. Each week, I do something different. I just try to embrace whatever they give me and do the best I can with it.”

49ers offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey reveals Shoobie's road to USA

49ers offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey reveals Shoobie's road to USA

Mike McGlinchey is best friends with teammate Joe Staley on the field. He might truly even be man's best friend. 

"As much as I appreciate having a great dog, and Shoobie is that, I do prefer human companionship," McGlinchey said, "so I'm gonna go with Joe." 

Staley still is No. 1 to McGlinchey, but Shoobie isn't too far behind. McGlinchey's mix breed dog had quite the journey to the 49ers' offensive lineman too. 

"We rescued him from Jake's Wish right here in the Bay Area," McGlinchey said. "... Shoobie actually came all the way from China. He was rescued by an American, I think from a college student or family over there. He was fostered for a couple of weeks and was helped to get to America by the family.

"And two weeks later he was mine." 

As far as how Shoobie would fit on the 49ers, McGlinchey sees him as a scat back or slot receiver in the mold of a Matt Breida or Trent Taylor. 

Learn all about Shoobie in the video above.

Kyle Shanahan undecided how much 49ers will play Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Broncos

Kyle Shanahan undecided how much 49ers will play Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Broncos

DENVER -- Jimmy Garoppolo has participated in every practice and taken twice the number of snaps of the other 49ers quarterbacks during training camp.

But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is uncertain how much Garoppolo will play Monday night when the 49ers face the Denver Broncos in a preseason matchup.

“I haven’t decided how much we’re going to play him on Monday night,” Shanahan said. “Want to play him. A lot has to do with when we watch his film from these two practices, how long we do play all our starters, what O-Linemen are available and things like that.”

Garoppolo saw a lot of action against the Broncos during joint practices on Friday and Saturday. Garoppolo did not suit up for the 49ers’ preseason opener last week against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. 

Aside from the brace on his left knee, there have been few signs this summer that Garoppolo is returning from such a significant injury.

“I think what’s important, all the time, is you look at the totality of a camp and I think he’s had a really good camp, I really do,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “I think the best thing for all of us is that is, I get hesitant and reluctant to say it, but is his recovery from his knee has been flawless.”

[RELATED: Why Lynch is confident in Jimmy G's successful return]

Clearly, Shanahan wants to get some playing time for Garoppolo ahead of the regular-season opener on Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After all, Garoppolo has started just 10 regular-season games in five seasons in the NFL.

Garoppolo’s heaviest workload is expected to come Saturday in Week 3 of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, where he sustained his season-ending torn ACL in his right knee on Sept. 23.

“I’d like him to get in there for a little bit -- not as much as Week 3,” Shanahan said. “It gets very monotonous in camp going against the same coverages every day, some different fronts, different looks, different techniques. We get more out of these two practices than we will in the game.”