Kyle Shanahan

NFL analyst could see 49ers replacing Jimmy Garoppolo with Kirk Cousins

cousinsshanahanusa.jpg
USATSI

NFL analyst could see 49ers replacing Jimmy Garoppolo with Kirk Cousins

Last season didn't go as planned for the Minnesota Vikings or the San Francisco 49ers, albeit for different reasons.

After signing quarterback Kirk Cousins in the offseason, the Vikings stumbled to an 8-7-1 record, missing the playoffs one year after going to the NFC Championship Game. Cousins, despite tossing 30 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, underperformed the massive contract he was given and was a clear scapegoat for the Vikings' disappointing year. 

As for the 49ers, after Jimmy Garoppolo went down in Week 3 with a torn ACL, the wind was taken out of their sails and they limped to a 4-12 finish. 

Both the 49ers and Vikings have high hopes for 2019, but if things go awry for both squads, one NFL analyst could see Kyle Shanahan swapping Jimmy Garoppolo for Kirk Cousins.

Yes, you read that correctly.

On Pro Football Talk Live, Mike Florio floated the idea of Shanahan -- who was Cousins' offensive coordinator for two seasons with the Redskins -- electing to move on from Jimmy G if his 2019 is subpar and grab Cousins should the Vikings cut bait with the veteran QB. Chris Simms, who knows Shanahan well, doesn't think it's as impossible as it sounds.

"I don't think it's crazy, Mike," Simms said. "You know, this thought or this theory, I don't think it's crazy. 

"I do think we are getting to the end of the territory or the end of the shelf life of this Minnesota football team. What you're saying if things didn't work out this year and they went 7-9, 6-10, 8-8 and miss the playoffs -- do they abandon ship, restart and retool their team? And yes, if the 49ers underperform, you know, could I see them going after a Kirk Cousins? Certainly. I really could see it happening."

Slow your roll, Chris.

After acquiring Garoppolo from the New England Patriots in 2017, Jimmy G went 5-0 as a starter and was rewarded with a massive five-year, $137 million contract. But should things go bad in 2019, the 49ers would only face a $4.2 million cap hit if they chose to move on from the star quarterback.

[RELATED: Breaking down Beathard vs. Mullens as 49ers' backup QB]

It would be a shock to see the 49ers part with Garoppolo in favor of an aging and overrated Cousins, but stranger things have happened. 

Dante Pettis' progress clear to 49ers teammates, coaches at minicamp

Dante Pettis' progress clear to 49ers teammates, coaches at minicamp

SANTA CLARA — Dante Pettis turned the right heads at 49ers minicamp last week. 

Quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens, as well as coach Kyle Shanahan, all noticed marked improvement in the receiver ahead of his second NFL season. 

Garoppolo has seen a physical transformation from Pettis. The QB thinks believes that Pettis' added muscle weight will help the receiver on the field. 

“Dante’s body is maturing,” Garoppolo said. “He’s coming out of breaks with power, he has speed. It doesn’t look like he’s moving very fast but really is. It’s a weird thing for a quarterback to get used to. He’s different than most guys running.”  

Garoppolo detailed how visually different Pettis’ speed is when you compare him to what Marquise Goodwin does. 

Those differences even extend to teammate -- and Olympic hopeful -- Marquise Goodwin. Garoppolo said that requires him to adjust when he's targeting Pettis. 

“Where Marquise looks like he’s running really fast, and he is running really fast, where with Dante it’s different,” Garoppolo said. “Being able to get on the same page with him, I think these last few weeks have been very important. 

“It’s just different. It’s hard to describe unless you’re seeing it, but you’re trying to throw it while he’s coming out of a break, but he comes out of break differently than most guys. It’s so hard on the defense that you really just know he’s going to get open, you just don’t want to miss him.”  

Pettis' physical change was clear to Shanahan, too. But Shanahan has also noticed improvements on the mental side, and said he thinks Pettis' hunger to improve is clear. 

“When I saw him the first week he got back to see the size that he had put on, not that he’s going to be real noticeably different to everyone, but he worked while he was gone,” Shanahan said. “He worked while he was away. He tried to get bigger. 

“He worked more at his routes and he came here with the idea of ‘Hey, I’m not just coming here to get better back in shape, I’m coming here to get better.’”

Pettis has said he is more comfortable in the 49ers' offense with a year of experience, and that was clear to Mullens.

“Yeah you can tell,” Mullens said. “You know, Dante has always had the physical talent of being so shaky, making guys miss and routing guys up. Now he doesn’t have to think about the play, he can go naturally do that.
 

“So things are coming very natural for him he’s making a lot of plays out there and it’s great to see. It’s been awesome to see him develop.” 

[RELATED: Will 49ers trade QBs Beathard or Mullens?]

Pettis isn't hesitating, and his confidence is clear. When you combine that with his physical and mental development, the young receiver seems ready to have a bigger role in his second NFL season.

“He’s making a lot of plays, being very consistent, and Dante can set the speed," Mullens said. "I think you guys have been able to see that and so he’s making a lot of plays and he’s a great teammate.” 

49ers' Jason Verrett feeling confident about his return to the field

verrettusatsi.jpg
USATSI

49ers' Jason Verrett feeling confident about his return to the field

SANTA CLARA -- When Jason Verrett has been healthy, he has played at an elite level, which is exactly where he sees himself this season with the 49ers. 

Verrett will remain in the Santa Clara area during the break before training camp, and he's been very pleased with his rehabilitation process thus far. 

“It’s been good,” Verrett said. “Training staff and strength coaches are all doing well. I feel like I’m on track to be ready for training camp and the rest of the season.”  

That doesn’t mean that it’s been easy for the cornerback to stand on the sidelines and watch. While he admits that a player can never get enough mental reps, he’s ready to get back on the field. 

“It’s hard,” Verrett said. “It’s very hard. But it's about 30-40 days until training camp so from here, it’s just about getting back healthy.”  

While Verrett played in a very similar scheme when he was a member of the Chargers, that is not what influenced his decision to head to the Bay Area.  

“My vibe was just good with the coaches when I came here, just seeing the direction they were going when I signed,” Verrett said. “It had nothing to do with the scheme.”  

The offensive scheme, however, has impressed Verrett. He believes it will be an advantage for the defense to have to practice against it on a daily basis. He also was complimentary of the talent on the offensive side of the ball. 

“Fast,” Verrett said. “The tempo is quick. I think that’s good for the defense to be able to be ready for an offense like the Rams that go up-tempo. There’s definitely been good looks out there. 

“If you study Kyle Shanahan, you know that he likes guys that can get open. Just from his style of coaching from watching the team in Atlanta, it’s all about timing and about being able to create space.” 

After missing team drills during OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Verrett's attention remains focused solely on getting himself healthy. 

[RELATED: Shanahan: 49ers have enough depth to overcome injuries]

"I’m going to be ready,” Verrett said. “That’s my main focus. It’s just worrying about what I can control and I’m excited to be getting ready for training camp. My health is pretty much everything and I’m on track to be exactly where I want to be. The day I get on that football field they are going to like what they see.”