49ers

Why Terrell Owens believes sky is limit for Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

Why Terrell Owens believes sky is limit for Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

On the day the organization announced that Terrell Owens would be inducted into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame, the receiver spoke to the media via conference call about myriad topics, including what he sees from the current team.

It seems T.O. is quite aware of the goings-on in Santa Clara.

“With the 49ers, they definitely have some pieces in place,” Owens said. “And No. 1, it starts with the quarterback. 

“I know Jimmy Garoppolo just got hurt last year, but again, with the upside, and what I think of what people saw of him, within the last two years, of what he can do, and you put some pieces around him, the sky is the limit.” 

Owens acknowledged that health has a big determining effect on how a team performs through a season and that every year is different. He spoke about how important a defense is and explained how the chemistry of a team can be a make-or-break factor for its success. 

“Obviously defense wins championships,” Owens said. “And you don’t have to be the No. 1, No. 2, 3 defense. As long as you’re playing good at the right time and everybody is playing in unison and harmony with each other, and there’s that chemistry, anything can happen." 

Owens went even further to give Garoppolo extra credit for being Tom Brady’s backup in New England prior to his arrival in the Bay Area. 

“You’re not going to find a team with the dynamic and the make-up of your New England Patriots,” Owens said, “but I think if you look at Tom Brady and you see who has backed Tom Brady up over the years, and you guys have him on your squad now, with Jimmy, then obviously again you have a tremendous potential there at the quarterback position.”

Owens also acknowledged the 49ers’ need to build a supporting cast for their franchise quarterback. Both coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch are on the same page with the Hall of Famer, taking a close look at receivers while at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. 

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“Now you just got to put some pieces around this guy,” Owens said, “and then have a great training camp and like I said, barring injuries, anything can happen going into the playoffs. But again, you have all the pieces right there in place to be very, very successful.” 

Owens will be inducted during the 2019 season, and he already confirmed he will be in attendance for the event.

Why later kickoff could prove beneficial to 49ers' health vs. Packers

Why later kickoff could prove beneficial to 49ers' health vs. Packers

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers might need every extra hour they are getting this week for some players to be available for kickoff on Sunday.

The 49ers' game against the Green Bay Packers was flexed from a scheduled 1:25 p.m. PT start to "Sunday Night Football" at 5:20.

That was a significant development for 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan when it comes to helping such players as tight end George Kittle (ankle, knee) and wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Deebo Samuel (shoulder) get ready to play. The 49ers (9-1) face the Packers (8-2) in a key NFC game this week at Levi's Stadium.

“I’m just glad we’ve got four more hours for Kittle and Deebo and Emmanuel to rest and recover,” Shanahan said.

Kittle, the 49ers top pass-catcher, has missed the past two games due to injuries he sustained on Oct. 31. He did not practice on Wednesday, though he was on the practice field with his helmet in hand.

Shanahan said Kittle is doing better this week but still not well enough to practice.

“It’s going to come down to the wire again and hopefully it will work out,” Shanahan said.

Sanders and Samuel did not practice, but both were on the practice field to watch and are expected to be available to play Sunday night against the Packers.

Defensive end Dee Ford (hamstring) and left tackle Joe Staley (finger) have been ruled out due to injuries.

Running back Matt Breida and kicker Robbie Gould did not practice. Running back Raheem Mostert, nose tackle D.J. Jones and linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair were limited.

Shanahan said he truly believes the later start time on Sunday will be beneficial to his team.

[RELATED: Witherspoon expected back as starter for 49ers vs. Packers]

“When you have a lot of guys that are banged up, the later it can be better,” Shanahan said. “I think it’s a little harder to get going early in the morning. If it was an East Coast Monday night game, that’d probably be the best, except I wouldn’t want to travel and be on the road.

“But the longer our guys can have the better. Our guys need it right now.”

49ers practice participation

No practice
TE George Kittle (ankle, knee)
RB Matt Breida (ankle)
WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs)
WR Deebo Samuel (shoulder)
K Robbie Gould (right quadriceps
DE Dee Ford (hamstring)

Limited
LT Joe Staley (finger)
NT D.J. Jones (groin)
LB Azeez Al-Shaair (concussion)
RB Raheem Mostert (knee)

Kyle Shanahan believes 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo exceeds some expectations

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USATSI

Kyle Shanahan believes 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo exceeds some expectations

SANTA CLARA  -- Heading into Week 12, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has now started in as many games post ACL surgery as he did prior to it. 

Garoppolo has clearly had his ups and downs, but coach Kyle Shanahan believes in certain areas his quarterback is ahead of schedule in his progress. Garoppolo has completed 68.8 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions giving him a 97.7 rating over 10 games. 

“I knew it would start out slow for him this year like it goes for everyone coming off an ACL,” Shanahan said. “Especially for a guy, who in my opinion, was almost a rookie. I know he played less than rookie quarterbacks the year before, guys like Baker [Mayfield] and stuff. 

“So he hadn’t played much, and then he came off an ACL, so I’d be worried for anyone in that situation. I think Jimmy has exceeded some expectations sometimes, but I still think he’s playing well and can still get a lot better.”

At the beginning of the season, the 49ers didn’t need to rely on the efficiency of Garoppolo to win games boasting the top producing run game in the league. Now that opposing defenses have keyed in on stopping the likes of Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman, more responsibility has fallen onto the shoulders of the man under center. 

Garoppolo has made outstanding no-look plays like the throw to Jeff Wilson for the game-winning touchdown facing the Cardinals. He threaded the needle between two defenders for Kendrick Bourne’s score in the same game. But while not all of the interceptions have been entirely his fault, there have been a few that he’d definitely like to have back. 

Like his receivers, Garoppolo has bounced back from those mistakes and Shanahan sees that as an important quality in a quarterback. With the same mentality as in the locker room, Shanahan took some responsibility for the errors. He also knows that if there is no risk, there is no reward. 

“It’s nice when they do make a lot of plays and do some good stuff,” Shanahan said. “But some bad plays do come with that and I understand that and I think Jimmy will get better in that area. I think he does continue to get better in that area and I also think that we could make it easier on him based on the type of game we call and how good we do around him. 

“But that’s part of football. It’s very rare that you just come out and throw a ton of touchdowns and no picks, but I do like that Jimmy doesn’t seem to be affected by it that he doesn’t go into a shell he still gives us a chance to win. And the more that he can keep playing the way he is without doing those turnovers, how much harder he will be to stop.”  

Garoppolo has appeared much more comfortable in the pocket, not shying away from defenders coming towards his lower body which he seemed to do in the preseason. He has made impressive throws with defenders in his face and has not shied away from contact. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G joined Montana, Young in win over Cards

Shanahan doesn’t believe that Garoppolo needs to take hits to prove his toughness but sees what he has been able to accomplish as a rare quality. 

“I think it takes very special guys to hang in there with the toughness that you got to have and still be able to make decisions, and still have an elite arm, and still be able to read everything and process it, and that’s why I don’t think there’s 32 on the planet. I think there’s less than that.”