What Garoppolo does not say about his future with 49ers

What Garoppolo does not say about his future with 49ers

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sounded like a man who has found himself a long-term home shortly after the 49ers concluded the regular season on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Garoppolo, 26, a four-year NFL veteran, was quickely established as a team leader after his arrival from the New England Patriots at the trade deadline in late-October. Once elevated to the starting lineup, the 49ers did not lose again.

“It was a good match between the 49ers and myself, and myself and the 49ers,” Garoppolo said after the 49ers’ season-concluding fifth consecutive victory, a 34-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

“I think it was kind of the perfect match and it happened at the right time, and good things are coming from it.”

But during his season-ending chat with reporters in front of his locker at Levi’s Stadium on Monday, Garoppolo again did not say the words that 49ers fans would like to hear from him.

Like sidestepping an oncoming pass rush within the pocket, Garoppolo deftly avoided making any statement about his desire to remain with the 49ers on a multi-year contract.

“I like being here,” Garoppolo said. “I think we had a good thing going at the end of this year. And we’ll see what happens.”

He said he plans to speak to his agent, Don Yee, shortly to begin talking about their offseason approach to the contract talks that are certain to occur.

“We really haven’t even gotten that far, yet,” Garoppolo said. “I’m supposed to talk with him (Yee) in the next couple of days and I’ll get down to L.A., and we’ll figure all that stuff out and go from there, I guess.”

Garoppolo said his contract status has been pushed aside for more pressing concerns – such as learning the 49ers’ offense -- in the nine weeks he's been with the team.

“I really haven’t had a chance to think about it,” Garoppolo said. “I think the season just ended, you know. We have a long ways to go and everything. When we get those conversations started, we’ll go from there.”

Initially, it was apparent Garoppolo’s side had no interest in negotiating a long-term contract with the 49ers upon his arrival on Oct. 31 after the trade in which the 49ers sent the Patriots a second-round draft pick. Garoppolo wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to determine whether the 49ers were a good fit for him.

The organization seems to have passed that initial test, with Garoppolo meshing well inside the locker room with his new teammates. Garoppolo said he was impressed with the team's mindset even while starting the season with no victories through nine games.

“When I first came in, they didn’t have any wins, but it was still a very tight-knit group,” Garoppolo said. “To have that is rare. Especially, when bad things happen, people want to start pointing the finger. But there was none of that in here. Everybody had each other’s back and looking out for each other. It made for a good group.”

In leading the 49ers to a 5-0 record as a starter, Garoppolo completed 67.4 percent of his passes while averaging 308.4 yards passing in his starts. He threw seven touchdowns and five interceptions for a passer rating of 96.2.

“I think you can always play better,” Garoppolo said. “I’m pretty hard on myself with critiquing the film and all of that. There’s obviously room for improvement. I think having time to digest the offense this offseason will really help.

“It was kind of a crash course we were doing these last couple of months, so I think that’ll make things a little slower for me and help me out.”

Garoppolo wore a wristband with the play calls on it. He said it was only there as an insurance policy.

“Fun fact for you guys, I never used it,” Garoppolo said. “But it was there just in case.”

Garoppolo seems to be a good match for Shanahan’s offensive system. If a long-term contract is not agreed upon by March 6, the 49ers will place a one-year franchise tag on Garoppolo at more than $22 million to retain his rights for the 2018 season.

Then, it will be back to work at the beginning of the offseason program to learn the offense from the beginning. What he saw from the system in two months has him excited about the future, he said, even if he will not show his cards about establishing roots in the Bay Area.

“There’s a little bit of everything, honestly,” Garoppolo said. “It’s not just spread offense or a run-heavy offense. We mix in just about everything you could and it keeps the defense on its toes and keeps them guessing. And I really like that.”

Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'


Why Greg Cosell believes Jimmy Garoppolo needs work on his 'quarterback feet'

Greg Cosell, a senior producer at NFL Films, believes 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo “has a chance to be a top-level quarterback.” But there remains room for improvement from the player the 49ers awarded a franchise-record contract in the offseason.

Garoppolo has a quick release and can throw at a number of different arm angles to avoid oncoming pass-rushers. And while his accuracy underneath was unquestioned during his 5-0 run as the 49ers’ starter last season, most of the time, his deep throws did not reach the target.

Garoppolo completed just 4 of 16 attempts to targets 20 yards or more down the field last season for 134 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus.

[RELATED: Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL']

During the offseason program, Garoppolo appeared to struggle on his deep throws, too. Cosell, a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, spoke about Garoppolo’s mechanics.

“Because he has very quick feet, I think people just assume he has great feet all the time when he delivers the ball,” Cosell said. “There’s a difference between having quick, athletic feet and having really good quarterback feet. And I think he needs to work on the quarterback feet part.

“I think guys who have that kind of snap delivery, sometimes they don’t step exactly to their throw and they throw a little bit off-balance, and that could really impact your accuracy to a significant degree. So my guess is those are the kinds of things they’ve worked on. Those are tweaks. I don’t think it will prevent him from being a really good player.”

Garoppolo appeared in six games with five starts last season after the 49ers acquired him for a second-round draft pick in a trade with the New England Patriots. Garoppolo completed 120 of 178 pass attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,580 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.

Cosell said it is important for all quarterbacks to use consistent mechanics when making throws from a clean pocket.

“Think of a major league pitcher,” Cosell said. “They theoretically should throw the ball the same way every time. So should a quarterback unless the defense dictates otherwise. If the defense doesn’t dictate otherwise, the throws should look the same.”

Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL'


Greg Cosell: Kyle Shanahan does one thing 'better than any coach in the NFL'

There is a lot of hope surrounding the 49ers entering the 2018 season.

Much of that is because of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Much of that also is because of Kyle Shanahan.

"Kyle is one of the most innovative and creative offensive minds in football," cornerback Richard Sherman said back in mid-March after he signed with the 49ers.

On the most recent episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell offered some high praise for San Francisco's head coach.

"When you look at a Kyle Shanahan offense, I think the thing that stands out the most -- that he does better than any coach in the NFL -- is the fusion between the run game and the pass game," Cosell said. "The run game and the pass game with their play-action concepts look exactly the same.

"And it's very, very difficult for defenses to differentiate the two very often until it's too late. And when you have a quarterback like Garoppolo -- who tends to be a quick decision-maker, a quick processor, he has a very quick compact delivery and then the ball gets out -- I think that just makes it even more difficult."

The 49ers won all five of Garoppolo's starts last season and put up 26, 25, 44 and 34 points in the last four games, respectively. Garoppolo was rewarded with a five-year, $137.5 million deal ($74.1 million guaranteed) -- which drastically increases the expectations.

Garoppolo and Shanahan could become one of the top head coach-quarterback duos for many years.

"When you talk to defensive coaches around the league, they will talk about Kyle Shanahan as one of the two or three of the best in the league when it comes to offensive design and game planning," Cosell added.