Jimmy Garoppolo

Time on Garoppolo's side, as he learns 49ers' offense from the beginning

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USATSI

Time on Garoppolo's side, as he learns 49ers' offense from the beginning

Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer cramming for a weekly exam.

Garoppolo is going through his first offseason as a member of the 49ers, and he is learning Kyle Shanahan’s complex scheme from the beginning – without taking any shortcuts.

He was traded to the 49ers with just two months left in the season. He took over for C.J. Beathard as the starter for the final five games. He might have learned the offense, but he never really knew it.

That is why this offseason has been vital for Garoppolo, as he has the time to fully grasp the offense. The 49ers are currently in their second week of organized team activities at their Santa Clara practice facility.

“You start over with formations to understand ‘why,’ so that he’s not just memorizing it all every single week,” Shanahan said. “You just know things. You don’t have to sit there and think about it. When you do that, you can just focus on really the tough jobs, which is throwing, going through progressions, playing in that pocket.”

Garoppolo took a crash course on learning the 49ers’ terminology upon his arrival from New England last season. Rather than learning the basics of the 49ers' offense and building from there, Garoppolo’s knowledge of the system was based on learning the plays involved in one game plan, then moving on to a new game plan the following week.

“Everyone knows the crash course that Jimmy got last year and it’s been nice to just slow it down, teach him some of the verbiage and the ‘whys,’ instead of just, ‘Hey, memorize this by Sunday,’ “ Shanahan said.

“It’s been nice for him to know why and be able to relax and talk through that stuff. Then, you hope that the more you do that, it’ll carry over to play better.”

Garoppolo completed 67.4 percent of his pass attempts for 1,560 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions while leading the 49ers to a 5-0 finish.

McKinnon followed Garoppolo's lead to 49ers: 'He’s a true leader, you can't teach that'

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AP

McKinnon followed Garoppolo's lead to 49ers: 'He’s a true leader, you can't teach that'

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo caught the attention of running back Jerick McKinnon long before they became teammates with the 49ers.

And when McKinnon was available as a free agent this offseason, Garoppolo helped sell him on the idea of moving to the Bay Area.

And now that they have been in the same building for a month-and-a-half during the 49ers’ offseason program, McKinnon feels better and better about his new NFL address.

“It’s not always about the money, like people say,” McKinnon said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “For me, it’s about the scheme. And I felt like this was probably the best fit that I could possibly think of.”

Before signing a four-year, $30 million contract, McKinnon spoke to Garoppolo and 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk and asked questions about the organization, the coaching staff and Bay Area.

“Talking to those guys and coming here, being blessed with the contract, obviously, it’s just a good fit,” McKinnon said. “Since I got here, it’s been nothing but love. I feel like this team is family oriented. And I can feel that when I first got here. It reminded me of a lot of the things that went on in Minnesota. That’s how I know there’s something special going on here.”

McKinnon was mostly the No. 2 back behind Adrian Peterson and Latavius Murray during his four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He said he knew he would not be returning to the Vikings as a free agent. And he used his knowledge of happenings around the NFL to help figure out his next move. Out of all the options at running back available to him, including Carlos Hyde, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan targeted McKinnon.

And McKinnon targeted the 49ers, too.

He said he took note of Garoppolo during his time as a backup in New England. Both were in the 2014 draft. Garoppolo was a second-round pick from Eastern Illinois. McKinnon was a third-round selection from Georgia Southern.

“That dude right there is sharp,” McKinnon said of Garoppolo. “We came out the same year. I watched him behind Brady, and when he got his chance to play and how he did, I was like, ‘When this guy gets his time, he’s going to be ready – there’s no doubt.’ He’s playing behind Tom Brady, one of the best. Tom Brady’s got five rings. So he got to learn from the best on a daily basis.

"I saw the trade was made last year. ‘OK, he’s going to be something special.’ And when he got hit chance, he didn’t lose a game, they didn’t lose a game. . . I watched them last year toward the end of the season when they started winning. I was like, ‘Those guys over there have something contagious going on.’ ”

Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension with the 49ers prior to the start of free agency. He led the way, and McKinnon followed.

“Coming here and getting to meet him in person and see how he prepares and how he leads in the huddle and on the field, he’s a true leader,” McKinnon said. “You can’t teach that.”

Jimmy G pumps up Sharks crowd ahead of Game 3

Jimmy G pumps up Sharks crowd ahead of Game 3

For the second time during the Stanley Cup playoffs, a member of the San Francisco 49ers pumped up the Sharks' crowd.

A couple weeks after his head coach did the same, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo opened the door as San Jose took the ice, all while adorning a custom teal jersey. 

The Sharks sealed the sweep when 49ers Kyle Shanahan did it in Game 4 of the first round against Anaheim. The SAP Center crowd certainly hopes the quarterback can follow in Shanahan's footsteps, and serve as San Jose's good-luck charm.