49ers

Why 49ers' John Lynch is confident in Jimmy Garoppolo's successful return

Why 49ers' John Lynch is confident in Jimmy Garoppolo's successful return

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — General manager John Lynch knows how important turning the corner in his third season as general manager of the 49ers is, and how much of that turnaround lies in the hands of his quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

“It’s important for us all,” Lynch said. “We’ve got high aspirations for this team and he’s obviously a big part of that. We’ve got a lot of belief that he’s going to answer the bell and we feel great about that position group in general.”

Garoppolo only had started 10 games over five seasons in the NFL before tearing his ACL in Week 3 against the Chiefs last year. Only eight of those starts were in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system. But Lynch has confidence that his quarterback has a chance to be successful because of his overall experience and the successful recovery of his left knee.

“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,” 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.”

Injuries have been a challenge for the 49ers over that past two seasons with 18 players ending up on injured reserve in 2018 and 21 players on the list the year prior. Running back Jerick McKinnon, who also suffered an ACL injury last season, had a minor set back during training camp. He should be ready for the early part of the season, but Lynch noted the 49ers have been very fortunate that Garoppolo has been issue free, thus far.

“I think we’re all learning the hard way that, par for the course, at some point, during a year-long rehab, you’re going to have some setbacks,” Lynch said. “He just hasn’t had those and that’s allowed him to focus on what he needs to do and that’s play.

“So that’s been tremendous and that’s been the biggest blessing and he deserves a lot of credit as does our medical staff for the way that’s gone. On the field we see progress each day and a better mastery of our system. We’re still seeing room for improvement but I think he’s been having a fine camp.”

Lynch also had a positive take on the health of defensive line additions Dee Ford and Nick Bosa. Ford has been out with tendonitis in his knee, while Bosa sprained his ankle. While Lynch would not confirm that they would be ready to play in Tampa in Week 1, he was not concerned about the time table for their return.

“As for Week 1, I don’t know, but I think we’re going to have them for the majority of the year and we just got to keep them out there,” Lynch said. “But those guys are obviously key parts of who we are and what we’re doing. It will be nice when we get them back.”

[RELATED: Broncos coach Fangio looks back fondly on four-year run with 49ers]

Other injury notes: C Weston Richburg (knee) is doing more football oriented things but has not been cleared, hopefully, he will be ready by Week 1 or early in the season. OL Mike Person (foot strain) is day-to-day. G Joshua Garnett (finger) will attempt to play with a cast that will he will have put on next week. CB Jason Verrett (ankle) is hopeful to be ready for Week 1. S Jimmie Ward (collar bone) has regular check-ups on how he is healing. They likely will have him participating in practice soon, but they will be careful with him.

NFL unveils new Oakley mouth shield recommended for coronavirus safety

NFL unveils new Oakley mouth shield recommended for coronavirus safety

Sports around the world are going to great lengths to try and keep athletes safe as they return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic. For professional football, teams like the 49ers face a litany of difficulties when it comes to trying to operate a standard NFL game while adhering to California's social distancing guidelines.

The NFL unveiled one idea on Monday, the Oakley Mouth Shield, which hypothetically would be worn on the field and help reduce the spread of the virus.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

The NFL's chief medical officer hasn't formally mandated the use of face masks for players just yet, but he is encouraging the concept.

"That's certainly what we're going to encourage," Dr. Allen Sills told ESPN. "And we hope that we're going to land on a product design that's something that everyone would want to wear, because they'll see the value and want that additional protection without any detriment to performance."

The masks already are being put into practice with the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, two teams who train nearby Oakley's international headquarters.

49ers tight end George Kittle recently questioned how players will be able to stay safe between the lines this fall during a conversation with NBC Sports Bay Area.

"Whether your lockers are six feet apart or not, you still have to get in a huddle and I still have to block Nick Bosa and I still have block Arik Armstead in camp," Kittle told Matt Maiocco on the "49ers Insider Podcast." "It's hard to social distance when you're on the line of scrimmage. That's the one thing I'm most interested in seeing how it plays out."

[RELATED: Ex-49er sees Jamal Adams as next Richard Sherman-type face of NFL]

Some players around the league already have expressed their doubts about the proposed face masks.

"My second year in the league I thought it'd be cool, I put a visor on my helmet," Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt told ProFootballTalk. "I was like, 'It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.' I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, 'Take this sucker off -- I'm gonna die out here.' ... So now you're gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don't think you're gonna see me on the field."

Just like the countrywide pushback we've seen to mask mandates in the U.S., an NFL directive for players to apply these masks to their helmets likely would be met with mixed feelings. We've seen numerous players from the NBA and MLB withdraw from their season restarts over safety concerns, there could begin to be NFL players entertaining the same idea if they don't feel protected from potential contamination

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo snubbed in Madden 21 top quarterback rankings

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo snubbed in Madden 21 top quarterback rankings

This is getting ridiculous. No love for Jimmy Garoppolo … again?

That’s right -- the 49ers’ quarterback was left of the top 10 ranking list at the position for Madden NFL 21, as some details have been leaked Monday. 

Sure, it’s tough to share company with Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, but come on.

The guy helped lead the 49ers to 13 wins and Super Bowl LIV last season -- and that was one year after a torn ACL injury. 

This comes off Jimmy G only receiving only two top-10 votes during a poll on ESPN where NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players were asked to pick their top-10 quarterbacks currently in the game. JUST TWO.

A veteran coach did give him a compliment saying Jimmy G probably has a ceiling, and he thinks “he’s a really good quarterback in this league.”

This week, ESPN will be revealing the player ratings beginning Monday. The ratings are decided by the Madden NFL Ratings Performance Adjustors which calculates a number of ratings in every player which for quarterbacks include speed, acceleration, agility rating, awareness rating, throw power rating, break sack rating, throw under pressure rating, play-action rating and throw on the run rating. 

This isn’t the first time Garoppolo has been overlooked either, not by far. His teammates have come to his defense before because they were the ones who see him put work in.

George Kittle specifically has spoken against some of the criticisms

Kittle also was snubbed in the recent Madden ratings having not been made a member of the prestigious “99 Club” despite being the best tight end in the league.

Garoppolo was one of the leaders of the team that began the 2019 season 8-0 and also was the only quarterback to rank in the top five in yards per attempt (8.4), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (69.1). 

[RELATED: Kittle questions how football could be played while social distancing]

In his first full season under coach Kyle Shanahan, Garoppolo accumulated 3,978 passing yards, 102.0 passer rating and 13 interceptions.

Put some respect on the name.