Late in the first half of the 49ers' third preseason game Saturday, Jimmy Garoppolo knew Dante Pettis was covered by three Kansas City Chiefs defenders in the end zone.
But the 49ers quarterback took a chance anyway, and he told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" on Wednesday that it was by design.
"A big part of that is it still being preseason, or in practice, you try things like that," Garoppolo said when KNBR's Tom Tolbert asked about the throw. "You know, during a real game, you wouldn't make that throw or that decision, but there's a trust factor between quarterback and ... whoever's catching the ball.
“The more you try those things, you see who's going to make the play for you in a crucial situation. If you put it in a good spot for them to make a play, you expect them to make a play. They expect you to give them a chance to make play, so I think it works both ways. Them trusting me, me trusting them. ... [That] comes with reps."
Garoppolo did not get many reps last season. After completing his first preseason with the 49ers, the signal-caller tore his ACL in Week 3 of the 2018 season against the Chiefs.
The injury left Garoppolo looking to complete his first full season with the 49ers, let alone as a starter. He was acquired from the New England Patriots in a Halloween 2017 trade after making all of two starts in parts of four seasons as Tom Brady's backup. Garoppolo has just eight starts in two years with the 49ers, adding inexperience to the aforementioned injury.
As a result, Garoppolo struggled in his first preseason game, in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos. He followed up his 1-for-6 performance with a better effort against the Chiefs, but there still were signs he is not all the way back in his injury recovery.
Garoppolo sees more reps as the key to greater comfort, and that remains a big part of his focus even with the regular-season opener right around the corner.
"We've gotten into [preparation for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers] a little bit," Garoppolo said in the interview. "This is an interesting week because you're still in that training-camp mindset where you're trying to make your own team better and do what you have to do to get better. But at the same time, obviously you start looking ahead and seeing who you've got Week 1."
Garoppolo won't play in the 49ers' preseason finale Thursday night against the LA Chargers, meaning the practice field is where he'll get the entirety of his remaining reps before his first regular-season game in nearly a year. Expect him to take some more chances during that time.