49ers

Texans' O'Brien praises Garoppolo, but stops short of comparing him to all-time great

garoppolo-obrien-ap.jpg
AP

Texans' O'Brien praises Garoppolo, but stops short of comparing him to all-time great

Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was not ready to make any comparisons to Tom Brady, a quarterback he knows well, but he had plenty of praise Tuesday for new 49ers starter Jimmy Garoppolo.

“Jimmy is a very talented guy,” O’Brien said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “He’s got a quick release. He’s got very good instincts as to how to play the position. Accurate passer. I know how they felt about him in New England, and I know it’s going to be a tough challenge for us.

“Jimmy plays the game in a very efficient way. He just does a good job of reacting and playing the position with good instincts and understanding of what the coach wants from the play and how to execute the play.”

Garoppolo studied Brady for years before he joined the New England Patriots in 2014 as a second-round draft pick. O’Brien was on the Patriots’ offensive staff from 2007 to 2011. Garoppolo was Brady's backup for 3 1/2 seasons before he was sent to the 49ers in a trade for a second-round draft pick.

Garoppolo had an impressive starting debut with the 49ers, throwing for 293 yards and leading a fourth-quarter comeback for a 15-14 victory over the Chicago Bears. Garoppolo will get his second start for the 49ers on Sunday against the Texans.

Garoppolo takes over as the 49ers starter after Brian Hoyer opened the first six games. C.J. Beathard started the next five before Garoppolo got his chance.

“I wouldn’t say they changed a whole lot,” O’Brien said. “I think Kyle (Shanahan) does a great job. He’s one of the best play-callers in this league – and play-designers. And I think they do things to suit the skillsets of their quarterbacks and the players around him.

“They’re building a foundation there and they’re building it the right way. They are pro coaches, so they understand when a guy comes in after the halfway point, they got to get the guy ready to play and that’s what they do.”

Mike McGlinchey, Fred Warner lead way for 49ers' 2018 rookie class

49ersrookiesus.jpg
USATSI

Mike McGlinchey, Fred Warner lead way for 49ers' 2018 rookie class

Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we look at the development of the 49ers' rookie class.

Through the first 10 games of the season, there appears little doubt the 49ers have two players from their most recent draft class who can be expected to be among the team’s core players for a long time.

Right tackle Mike McGlinchey and middle linebacker Fred Warner have started every game and done everything asked of them.

“We think we have more than a couple of keepers, but those are two guys who come to mind who really hit the field running their rookie year,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said.

Here is a look at the entire 49ers’ rookie class as the club enters the final six games of Year 1:

RT Mike McGlinchey

McGlinchey has not given the organization any reason to second-guess the decision to select the Notre Dame product with a top-10 draft pick.

Lynch felt confident in the person they were drafting to replace Trent Brown, who never exhibited the level of commitment the 49ers wanted to see. Lynch identified three prospects who stood out during the interview process: McGlinchey, Florida State safety Derwin James and Georgia running back Sony Michel. McGlinchey was the pick at No. 9 overall.

“Mike McGlinchey, we felt really strongly about, just what the kid is made of, the type of person he is,” Lynch said. “The best players, the best leaders, make those around them better. I love what Mike McGlinchey has done for Joe Staley.

“Mike is playing really, really good football for a rookie, and we think it’s only going to get better, so that’s very exciting.”

[RELATED: 49ers rookie Mike McGlinchey relishes blocking in Kyle Shanahan's scheme]

Lynch said he believes McGlinchey’s presence has energized Staley. When Staley’s career winds down, McGlinchey is likely to take over at left tackle.

WR Dante Pettis

Pettis received a lot of attention during training camp for his unorthodox running style and deceptive speed. But once the team began, he has faded to the background.

He was inactive for three games with a knee injury, but in the seven games in which he has appeared his impact has been minimal. He has just seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Pettis has been disappointing as a punt returner, too. The NCAA record-holder with nine career punt returns for touchdowns during his four-year career at Washington, Pettis has struggled fielding punts and has a 3-yard average on nine returns.

The final six games are important for Pettis to show he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL and build some momentum to be a significant playmaker in 2019.

LB Fred Warner

The 49ers invested wisely with their third-round pick on Warner. At the time, the entire football future of Reuben Foster was up in the air. Warner, a jack-of-all-trades during his time at Brigham Young, immediately moved into the middle linebacker position and was responsible for calling the defensive signals.

“We put a lot on him early, in terms of being the mike linebacker, having all that responsibility, not coming off the field, and then top of it, playing a lot of special teams,” Lynch said.

“Anything we’ve asked of Fred, he’s stepped up.”

[RELATED: Fred Warner already proving to be a tackle, turnover machine for 49ers]

Warner leads the 49ers with 76 tackles and five passes defensed. He is the only player on the team with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

CB Tarvarius Moore

The 49ers fell for Moore because of his speed and athleticism. A third-round pick from Southern Mississippi, Moore was converted to cornerback after primarily playing safety in college. The reports out of practice are encouraging, but his play time has been limited. He has mostly played on special teams, but could get a chance to see more action in the final six games.

DT Kentavius Street

After tearing his ACL in a pre-draft workout for the New York Giants, the 49ers plan to open a three-week window during which he can practice with the team before returning to the non-football injury list to finish out the season. The 49ers expect Street, a fourth-round pick from North Carolina State, to be at full strength for next season.

DB D.J. Reed

It has been an up-and-down rookie season for Reed, a fifth-round draft pick from Kansas State. He has backed up at safety and nickel back. He was forced into the Week 10 game against the New York Giants late due to an injury to K’Waun Williams, and Eli Manning immediately targeted him for the game-deciding 3-yard TD pass. Reed had a 90-yard kickoff return against the Chargers, but two fumbles led to a demotion.

S Marcell Harris

The sixth-round pick from Florida played against the Raiders in Week 9. It was the first time he played in a game since the 2015 season at Florida. He sustained a torn Achilles prior to his senior year. Harris is playing special teams while backing up at strong safety.

DT Jullian Taylor

A seventh-round pick from Temple, Taylor earned a spot on the 53-man roster as a developmental player. The 49ers have plenty of depth at this position. He has not yet appeared in a game.

WR Richie James

After initially being among the team’s inactive players, James has appeared in seven games. He caught two passes for 60 yards against the Raiders as he took over in the slot from Trent Taylor. But he also dropped a likely touchdown pass from Nick Mullens. James’ competition with Taylor should heat up next season. James has been the team’s most reliable punt returner, averaging 9.6 yards on seven returns.

TE Ross Dwelley

Undrafted from the University of San Diego, Dwelley was promoted from the practice squad to replace Cole Wick on the 53-man roster after five games. Dwelley (6-5, 240) could stick for a while as a backup. He has one catch for 8 yards.

CB Emmanuel Moseley

Undrafted from Tennessee, Moseley made a strong bid to win a roster spot out of training camp. He earned a call-up from the practice squad for the Week 9 game against the Raiders, but sustained a season-ending dislocated shoulder on his third play on special teams.

Aside from Jimmy G injury, 49ers' loss to Packers is worst 2018 moment

9erspackers.jpg
USATSI

Aside from Jimmy G injury, 49ers' loss to Packers is worst 2018 moment

Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we look at the team's worst moment after 10 weeks. 

With the 49ers holding on to just two wins thus far, there are quite a few choices for the worst moment of the 2018 season. The obvious choices, of course, are losing Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo to season-ending ACL injuries. 

Looking at actual football plays, one moment led to a proverbial stake being driven into the hearts of 49ers players and fans alike.

With 1:13 left on the game clock at Lambeau Field in Week 6, 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard threw a deep pass intended for Marquise Goodwin down the middle of the field. A similar play earlier had successfully produced a 49ers touchdown in the second quarter.

This time, the outcome was markedly different. Packers cornerback Kevin King intercepted the ball, and Green Bay took over at its own 10-yard line. 

Aaron Rodgers then used the remaining 1:07 of the game to drive the Packers nearly the length of the field to set up kicker Mason Crosby for the game-winning field goal. The 49ers left Green Bay with their fourth loss of the season.

[RELATED: 49ers' best moment of the 2018 season involves George Kittle]

There are three other honorable mentions of heart-breaking 49ers moments:

-- In Week 4 against the Chargers, the 49ers had a chance to regain the lead in the fourth quarter after they led 14-0 earlier in the game. With 2:38 left on the clock, Beathard threw a short pass intended for Alfred Morris, but Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell picked off the throw, and the 49ers subsequently lost 29-27.

-- Week 8 provoked similar feelings when Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen threw to five different receivers in his TD drive to put Arizona ahead 16-15 late in the fourth quarter. The ensuing two-point conversion to Larry Fitzgerald took the wind out of the 49ers' sails, but their last offensive play of the game was the most heart-dropping.

With seven seconds left on the clock, the 49ers were at Arizona’s 45-yard line. Center Erik Magnuson, who was in for Weston Richburg, fumbled the snap and lost any chance the 49ers had of tying the score.

-- Eli Manning’s game-winning touchdown drive in Week 10 with the 2:46 left on the game clock put the Giants ahead 27-23. The 49ers got the ball back with 53 seconds left in the game but couldn’t produce, and suffered their eighth loss of the season.