Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo says 49ers QBs all stand to benefit from competition

Jimmy Garoppolo says 49ers QBs all stand to benefit from competition

SANTA CLARA – Unlike a year ago, there is competition inside the 49ers’ quarterbacks meeting room.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s spot is set as the starter, but Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard are competing for the backup job. Wilton Speight joined the three returners when he signed as an undrafted rookie from UCLA.

“It’s a good group,” Garoppolo said. “We all help each other out, especially in-between reps. You come to the sideline and coach might be busy looking at whoever’s in there, and you can talk to each other about it, just what they saw and if you mess something up, how you can fix it, things like that.”

Mullens finished last season on an impressive eight-game run. He completed 64.2 percent of his pass attempts with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a passer rating of 90.9.

His 2,277 yards passing are the fourth most in NFL history for a quarterback in his first eight starts, ranking behind only Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton.

As well as Mullens played, his spot is not assured this year.

The 49ers still have a high opinion of C.J. Beathard, a third-round pick in 2017 who took over after Garoppolo’s injury last season. Beathard entered both of his first two seasons in the NFL as the team's unquestioned No. 2.

Beathard completed 60.4 percent of his passes last season with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions and an 81.8 passer rating. Beathard started five games – all 49ers losses – and his confidence appeared to take a beating as he absorbed one hit after and other and was sacked 18 times in 187 dropbacks.

On a short week, coach Kyle Shanahan went with Mullens against the Raiders in Week 9. Mullens had a near-perfect game and never gave Shanahan a reason to make a change back to Beathard.

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo braces for full practice at start of 49ers training camp]

Mullens and Beathard are expected to split the 11-on-11 practice snaps during the offseason program while Garoppolo is relegated to just 7-on-7 drills. The competition for the backup role will intensify in training camp.

“It’s a good group of guys and a very competitive group of guys, which makes us all better,” Garoppolo said.

Jimmy Garoppolo braces for full practice at start of 49ers training camp

Jimmy Garoppolo braces for full practice at start of 49ers training camp

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo expects to wear a brace on his surgically repaired left knee for the entire 2019 season.

The 49ers franchise quarterback can only hope everything this season is as simple as finding the right protective device.

“Yeah, I love it,” Garoppolo said after his second day of going through 7-on-7 drills during 49ers organized team activities.

“That was actually the first one I tried. It fit like a glove the first time, so shout out to the training staff for finding that.”

Garoppolo is working his way back slowly from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that ended his season in Week 4 of his first full year with the 49ers. He is now taking part in his second offseason program with the 49ers.

When he entered the 49ers’ starting lineup for the final five games of the 2017 season, he knew only as much of the offense to enable him to get through each week’s game plan. A year ago, when he reported back for the team's offseason program, he was learning the offense from the beginning – like a rookie.

“(It’s) much smoother, that’s for sure, the installs and everything,” Garoppolo said. “Last year, it was really my first time sitting down and learning it from an OTA point of view rather than cramming for a test. It’s been smoother and a lot more simple in the mornings.

“The majority of our offense that we do right now is the bulk of the stuff. It’s stuff that we do 75-percent of the time. We’re not really game-planning for our defense. You more so want to get the reps in to help you as an offense. It’s getting guys comfortable, the new guys, the young guys, getting them all comfortable and getting us all on the same page.”

Garoppolo appears on pace for a return to 11-on-11 work at the start of training camp in late-July. Until then, he is taking part in the more controlled passing sessions that do not involve a pass rush.

“The training staff and coaches have put together a nice plan and just getting the reps of 7-on-7 and seeing the defense, safeties, things like that," Garoppolo said. "It’s good to be back out there and being able to see all that stuff again."

[RELATED: Sherman is impressed with how Jimmy G is throwing the ball]

During 7-on-7 drills on Tuesday, Garoppolo completed 15 of 20 pass attempts to 12 different receivers. Making high-velocity throws down the field and the quick, improvisational movements within the pocket to create room to throw are the last pieces of the puzzle for Garoppolo.

“The ropes down the field, the movement, escaping the pocket and things like that, just the awkward movements that you can’t really predict in practice,” Garoppolo said. “Yeah, it’s coming together nicely, though.”

Richard Sherman impressed with 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's throwing

Richard Sherman impressed with 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's throwing

SANTA CLARA — It has only been two days of organized team activities, but Richard Sherman already is impressed by what Jimmy Garoppolo has done. 

The 49ers quarterback was on the field participating in 7-on-7 drills on the practice field and Sherman believes the signal-caller wasn’t been holding back. Sherman saw confidence in his quarterback with the type of throws he was making as well as the way he was moving.  

"Jim was threading it today,” the 49ers star corner said. “He got the ball right where he wanted to. Obviously, he's been limited, but today he had a lot of reps and looked really good. He was putting the ball in risky spots, real confident throws. He completed every single one of them.” 

Sherman also detailed a throw that impressed him enough that he had to have a word with Garoppolo a few moments later. Sherman was the defensive back that was covering Jordan Matthews, who was the intended receiver on a dig route. 

“He threaded one kind of right by my fingertip,” Sherman said. “It was a play that I kind of just tried to jump. It wasn't really my responsibility but I just wanted to go for it because I thought I could get it done. And he threw a ball where if the receiver doesn’t get it, there’s no way I can get, but if he throws it anywhere else, I can take it. 

“It was just a great ball and a great throw from him. It was just exactly what you want to see from your quarterback, moving on in his rehab, and where he is in the process. To be only in day two and be able to make those throws already is a great compliment.”  

Garoppolo said he is happy just to be back in the huddle, enjoying the camaraderie with his teammates, including the veteran cornerback. 

“It was cool,” Garoppolo said. “Even if it’s just a little trash talk in between series or whatever it is. It’s a nice feeling to be back out there and get in the huddle guys and looking them in the eyes. It’s the little things like that.” 

[RELATED: 49ers hit hard by injuries during offseason program]

Did Sherman get as close to the ball as he said he did? 

Garoppolo replied with a laugh, “He was close, I don’t know if he got there though.”