49ers

Trent Taylor's return to full health could pay big dividends for 49ers

Trent Taylor's return to full health could pay big dividends for 49ers

SANTA CLARA — After a challenging sophomore season returning from back surgery, a productive OTAs and minicamp has 49ers receiver Trent Taylor set for a comeback in 2019. 

Taylor has been very visible during the offseason program as opposed to last offseason when he was forced to sit out. The receiver-quarterback chemistry that was apparent when Jimmy Garoppolo first took his place under center in 2017, appears to be back in full swing. 

“Yeah, definitely,” Garoppolo said Wednesday. “Trent’s so savvy. It’s awesome having a guy like that in the slot. He feels space differently than most guys. 

“He knows his strengths and he knows his weaknesses and he’s going to do everything he can to make the weaknesses better. He doesn’t have many them, but it’s just when you have a guy like that it makes my job very easy.” 

Quarterback Nick Mullens also has noticed the return of Taylor’s explosiveness. They have connected several times during team drills. 

 “One hundred percent,” Mullens said Wednesday. “I think people always refer back to Trent’s rookie year when he kind of burst onto the scene and was a third down go-to. You can tell. Definitely a difference. 

“It’s awesome for Trent to be healthy. It’s been a grind for him to get back, so super happy and proud for him. He’s definitely let people know Trent’s back this year during camp." 

Coach Kyle Shanahan knows 2018 was a challenge for Taylor. He saw improvement from the third-year pro right away when he returned to the field. 

“It was so hard for Trent last year just because he was battling that back thing all of last offseason, so he missed a whole offseason of working out, which is a huge deal,” Shanahan said on Tuesday. “Trent spent his whole time away healthy. He had no setbacks with his back, so we could see the first day he got back here when he ran routes that he was feeling better. 

“Each day, he’s been able to stack those days up of trying to get better, not just trying to get his back to feel better. Now Trent is right back to where we expected him to be after his rookie year.” 

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Taylor finished his rookie season catching 43 of his 60 targets for 412 yards, two touchdowns and a 71.1-percent catch percentage. His second season was less productive with 26 completions on 41 targets and one touchdown.

“He had a good rookie year, but we expected him to come back better,” Shanahan said. “We still thought he needed to improve in a number of ways after his rookie year, and when he came back, he just came back hurt. That was tough, and he took a step back. We expect him to get back to his rookie year and we expect him to be better.

"And he’s on his way to doing that right now.”

Why Kyle Shanahan had to abort rep with Jimmy Garoppolo at 49ers minicamp

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AP

Why Kyle Shanahan had to abort rep with Jimmy Garoppolo at 49ers minicamp

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has been moving along in his rehab from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 3 of the 2018 season.

So, toward the end of minicamp, head coach Kyle Shanahan wanted to get his quarterback a rep or two in 11-on-11s. Shanahan's instructions to his defensive line were to stand still with their hands up and to not touch the franchise quarterback.

Shanahan's orders were heard, but the instincts of his defense took over and the head coach had to jump in to avoid catastrophe. 

"The animals that they are, why we love them, they couldn't help it," Shanahan told ESPN's Nick Wagoner about his defensive line during the drill. "I saw it, so I stopped it. I wasn't going to mess with it."

After the minor heart attack, Shanahan was able to laugh it off. 

"I liked it, after I got over it," Shanahan said.

Exhale, Niners fans.

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Garoppolo has proclaimed himself "good to go" as training camp approaches, but hopefully, the 49ers' defensive line gets the memo during the next drill.

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo working with 'quarterback whisperer' Tom House

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo working with 'quarterback whisperer' Tom House

The work 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has in front of him won't be as arduous as the rehabilitation process -- that's the good news. But he's not out of the woods yet.

After suffering a torn ACL in his left knee last September, all of his focus can be concentrated on taking himself to the next level to become the best he can be. That means bringing in the talents of Tom House as a summer QB coach.

House, a "quarterback whisperer," coached the likes of fellow QBs Drew Brees, Alex Smith, Carson Palmer, and Jimmy G's former teammate, Tom Brady. 

"When he shows up, you know what you're going to get," House told ESPN's Nick Wagoner about Garoppolo.

Garoppolo was described by House as being "humble and hungry for success," just as the other star quarterbacks have been. That makes House's job much easier.

For the next month or so, Jimmy G will work with House and his team at the 3DQB training facility, CEO Adam Dedeaux, motion mechanics instructor John Beck and motion expert Taylor Kelly on everything -- and I mean everything. The 3DQB plan includes fundamental throwing mechanics, sure, but they also monitor Garoppolo's nutrition and sleep.

He won't be alone in some of the training sessions but didn't name names of teammates that would be joining him.

"During these 40 days, you do so many different things, physical, mental," Garoppolo said to Wagoner. "You're trying to recover at the same time [as] getting ready for training camp. I think just having the timing of the offense down, being in rhythm with the receivers that I'll work with and everything, and just getting comfortable. It's been a little while since I've been in 11-on-11 football, so just getting as comfortable as I can as quickly as I can."

House, aware of Garoppolo's medical rehab, wants to make sure the next steps are the right ones for the two-time Super Bowl champ.

"As the performance part of the rehab, we are working in lockstep with the medical rehab," House said. "We just make sure to coordinate accordingly. You don't want to undo anything the medical has done, and you don't want to overdo anything on the performance side. When you've got a guy like Jimmy -- and I had met him and got to know him a little bit when he was with the Patriots -- and obviously he gets along really well with the young coaches on our staff, so it was a good fit in both directions."   

But there's no rush.

"I think all of that will come with time," Garoppolo said. "I'll try to implement as many drills as I can during these 40 days or so. But, I think once until the bullets start flying and everything, then we'll really see."

House started his career as a pitcher for seven seasons in Major League Baseball across three teams. He earned his Ph.D. in Sports/Performance Psychology while he was becoming a pitching coach. He began working with quarterbacks in 2006 when Brees was rehabbing a dislocated right shoulder. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G on work he did with Mike Shanahan]

Since then, he's worked with just about every notable quarterback you can imagine. Brees himself said House doesn't stop at the physical but works with the individual as a whole. Brees mentioned in his book, "Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Power of Adversity," that he was a different player than before.

"I was coming back stronger and better than ever," Brees wrote.

Jimmy G hopes the same is true for him as the 2019 season is just around the corner.